The Seattle Seahawks have been closely monitoring Drew Lock and Geno Smith this preseason to determine who the starting quarterback will be for Week 1. While the team had a plan in place to evaluate both QBs, the competition took a dramatic turn heading into their second preseason game.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Tuesday, August 16th that Lock would be starting on Thursday against the Chicago Bears. That had been the plan all along, per Carroll, to let Lock start after Smith was the starter in the team’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, just an hour after Carroll announced that Lock would be starting the next preseason game, the Seahawks PR team announced that the 25-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 and would miss Thursday’s game.
Smith will be the de facto starter once again with Lock out with COVID. That is going to make the former Denver Broncos quarterback’s job even harder to win the starting gig, especially if it takes him some time to recover from COVID.
How Did Drew Lock Get Here?
It has been a long run of bad luck for Lock, but that wasn’t always the case. The 25-year-old had previously been one of the most exciting quarterbacks in all of college football.
Coming out of Lee’s Summit High School, Lock was a 4-star recruit and the top player in the state of Missouri. He received offers from FBS programs including Ohio State, Texas, and Michigan State, but ultimately decided to stay in his home state and play for the Missouri Tigers.
It didn’t take long for Lock to take over Missouri’s offense, winning the starting job over the final eight games of his true freshman season. He steadily showed improvement over his first few seasons, and by his junior year he threw for 3,964 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He led the nation in passing touchdowns and was named the first-team All-SEC quarterback.
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By the end of his college career, Lock had thrown for 12,193 yards, 99 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. With tremendous arm talent and a charismatic personality, the Denver Broncos ended up taking Lock with the 42nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Lock’s rookie season got off to an unlucky start when he suffered a preseason thumb injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of the year. Once he returned, however, Lock showed out. He led the Broncos to a 4-1 record in five games, completing 64.1 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
That strong rookie showing quickly faded away. Lock led the NFL with 15 interceptions in 2020, going 4-9 as the starter in 13 games. He was then replaced by Teddy Bridgewater as the team’s full time starter in 2021, starting just three games.
The Broncos decided to move on from Lock this offseason, trading him to Seattle in the Russell Wilson trade. While he’s been hoping for a fresh start that will give him a chance at a starting job, missing the team’s preseason game against the Bears is just another hurdle he’ll have to get over.
Will Geno Smith Be the Week 1 Starter?
While Lock will still be competing to be under center for Week 1 once he’s back, Smith is now firmly in the driver’s seat to become the staring quarterback for the season opener.
Carroll has made it clear that Smith is the early favorite to win the starting job. The 31-year-old quarterback has been with the team since 2019, serving as the backup to Wilson for the past few seasons.
However, Smith showed some flashes of being a staring-caliber quarterback when forced into the starting lineup while Wilson was injured. In four games played, Smith posted an impressive 103.0 passer rating with five touchdowns and just one interception.
As the quarterback with more tenure and time with the Seahawks, and Lock now missing a preseason game he was expected to start, the signs are starting to point to Smith being the Week 1 starter.