SEATTLE – Pete Carroll makes no change to the quarterback after Geno Smith’s second uneven performance on as many starts as replacing Russell Wilson.
Carroll said so on his 710 ESPN Seattle radio show Tuesday morning when asked if Smith is still the Seahawks’ starter for this week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Sure,” he said the day after the Seahawks fell to 5-2 with a 13-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints. “Yes, he is. And we rely on him to keep getting better and better and better to play around him.”
Carroll said Smith was “solid” and called it a “phenomenal feat” protecting the ball, as well as in the more than two games he has played since Wilson lost in the second half of Seattle at 26 : Los Angeles Rams injured 17 finger on finger in week 5. But he made it clear that the ninth-year veteran needs to do a better job to avoid unnecessary sacks.
“He’s managing the game well,” said Carroll. “I want him to get the football out, to be more open to throwing the ball away. We talked about it in the locker room after the game is something that requires experience. This experience for Geno at the moment is not quite as regulated as he has to be content with: “I have to throw the ball away, we have to throw the football.” And there’s nothing wrong with that. We took two or three bags with us last night that we shouldn’t have taken. “
Wilson has to miss at least one more game before leaving the injured reserve. After the Seahawks said goodbye after the Jacksonville game, Wilson couldn’t return to the Green Bay Packers until week 10 at the earliest.
The only other quarterback in their 53-man roster is Jacob Eason, a sophomore they claimed waivers last week. With Jake Luton and Danny Etling, Seattle has two quarterbacks on its training team. Luton, also a sophomore player, made three starts as a rookie. Neither Eason nor Etling started an NFL game.
Smith completed 12 of 22 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions on Monday night. He has been sacked five times, with two consecutive games coming during the Seahawks’ last voyage. Another sack in third place early in the fourth quarter pushed her back 11 yards, resulting in a 53-yard field goal attempt that Jason Myers missed.
Since joining Wilson, Smith has completed 45 of 71 attempts for 507 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. That came late against the Rams when Tyler Lockett fell to the ground before Smith’s throw arrived. Smith lost a fumble in overtime to Seattle’s 23:20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week after helping the Seahawks recover from a 14-0 halftime deficit.
The Monday night defeat was the third episode of the Seahawks. With all three they had a chance of a tie or the lead in the last three minutes of regular time or extra time and did not make it.
They are now five games behind the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West standings, and for the first time since 2011 they are three games under .500.
“We have to keep fighting because it’s so close,” said Carroll. “We just have to keep scratching and scratching and we have to build the game around Geno and make sure it can function at a high level.”
Carroll said defense attorney Marquise Blair broke his kneecap Monday night and needed to “clean it up”. Blair had shared the Nickelback duties with Ugo Amadi, who is supposed to take on that role. Carroll said he was counting on the defensive end Darrell Taylor (neck) and left security guard Damien Lewis (shoulder) to play against Jacksonville after both were inactive Monday night.