Coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday the Seahawks will take “all the time we need” to decide on a starter, noting the two and a half weeks they have between Friday’s preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys and the opener of the 12- a of September against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos.
Carroll said Smith remains ahead but that he is “wide open” to the possibility that Lock could overtake him.
Carroll did not specify when he initially planned to make a decision but said it changed when Lock was sidelined with COVID-19 last Tuesday, two days before he was set to make his first start of the summer in Seattle’s second preseason game against the. Chicago Bears. Lock returned on Sunday and participated in all three practices this week, sharing first-team reps with Smith on Tuesday.
Carroll would not reveal who will start Friday, but again said Lock will play “a lot.”
“I’m totally open for whatever happens,” Carroll said. “Geno has been the guy in the lead position the whole time, and I’ve protected that thought the whole time. He’s done a really nice job. He’s been very consistent. So we’ll just see what happens. There’s two more weeks of practice, too, after this. I had a set idea of what we’d do with the timeline but that got interrupted, so we’ll use all the time we need.”
Smith took most of the first team reps. He started the Seahawks’ mock game and then their preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers a week later. The plan was for Lock to start against Chicago and then go from there. Lock took all the first-team reps last Tuesday but struggled while feeling unwell, testing positive later that day.
“Today is a really big day for me to find out what they look like today,” Carroll said before practice. “A guy is coming back from COVID. He came back two days ago, did well, came through yesterday in all the walk-on stuff, did well. Let’s see how he goes today and see where it fits. But I’m not closing the book on anybody competing for their places. We have two huge weeks ahead: The end of this, [then] next week is a huge week for us and then we’ll be back with another full week and an extra day. So we have a lot of time here to work it out.”
Lock, acquired from Denver in the Wilson trade, outplayed Smith in the Aug. 6 mock game at Lumen Field and had a strong night against Pittsburgh with a pair of touchdown passes until committing a late fumble. He lost a fumble when he was failed to account for an unblocked tourist off the edge.
“He played very well,” Carroll said. “His pace was good. I go back to the Lumen game, too, because that was the other one we used for the evaluation. He was really quick with the football. I’d like to continue to see that happen. When it comes right down to it, we missed something right at the end and gave the ball up. I’d just like to see him finish the game and finish making the plays that he’s capable of making. He showed a lot of really good things. I think he had two out of three drives where he won in return [Pittsburgh]. But we’re in a different set-up now because of last week’s game.”
The Seahawks went scoreless on seven first-half drives behind Smith last week against Chicago. He finished 10-of-18 for 112 yards, but at least three of his incompletions were drops.
Asked if the Seahawks could play two quarterbacks in the regular season, Carroll said it’s a possibility but not the plan.
“I could go ahead and just call it, but I want to let the guys fight and let them show where they are and let us get as much information as possible,” he said. “Geno did a really good job of being in that position. His voice is solid. He’s on point all the time. He’s been very consistent with his work all this, and Drew has been really sharp. I know it doesn’t have to be. good situation when you have two quarterbacks. That means you don’t have one, is the old saying. I don’t know that. We might have two. We’ll see what happens.”
Carroll initially said he expected a rookie running back Kenneth Walker III to be back from the opener of his hernia procedure, but he later withdrew that thought. Seattle’s second-round pick was in line for a significant role together Rashad Penny.
“I don’t know what to call what’s going to happen because it’s such an unusual circumstance that he has,” Carroll said. “He’s really tough, he’s making great progress every day. He’s just feeling more comfortable. I think he sneezed the other day and got through it. So he’s fine. But how many weeks will it last? I don’t. know that .The documents don’t tell us that either, so I think a lot will have to be done with him.
“If you’re going to bank on him, he’ll find his way back quickly. He’s really tough. He’s very demanding of himself. So we’ll see how it goes, but we’ll be hopeful about it happening.”