The Seahawks know who their long-term starter is and that would be Russell Wilson. But who backs Wilson up: Paxton Lynch or Geno Smith?
The Seahawks and 12s have been very lucky with Russell Wilson. Not only is a great quarterback and potential Hall of Famer, if he continues on his current career arc, but he stays healthy too. Wilson has never missed a practice, let alone a game. This means the odds of Wilson missing time are increasing. Obviously, whoever backs Wilson up is important.
In training camp this year two players will be competing to be Wilson’s backup. That would be 2016 first round pick Paxton Lynch and 2013 second round choice Geno Smith. Both Lynch and Smith were signed as free agents in this past offseason. Lynch and Smith are completely different players, though, so Seattle might be thinking about which direction they might want to take the offense if Wilson goes out with injury.
Smith is a quarterback who could run the same kind of offense as Wilson. Both are mobile players and can create plays with their feet as well. Smith also has a huge advantage in terms of experience. Though he hasn’t started much over the last four seasons, he does have 31 starts in his career.
The problem with Smith, and this is very much unlike Wilson, is that Smith is not an accurate passer. He has thrown 906 career passes and completed just 57.7 percent of them. Smith also has 29 career touchdown passes but 36 interceptions. That is a terrible ratio. If the Seahawks needed Smith to play meaningful snaps, they would clearly not want him to turn the ball over.
Lynch has great size – he is six-foot-seven-inches – and a cannon of an arm. Smith doesn’t have a weak arm, but it is not what Lynch’s is. Lynch has started four games in his career. In his first two seasons in the NFL, Lynch has thrown four touchdowns versus four interceptions.
There are a lot of concerns about Lynch, however. He was released by the Broncos in September of last season and did not catch on with another team. What does it say when other teams are afraid to sign a quarterback with some starting experience in the league and yet is still really young? No one picked up Lynch and kept them on their rosters for any of 2018 after his release.
Lynch’s mechanics are also a mess. Maybe this isn’t his fault as he has gone through a bunch of offensive coordinators both in college and his short NFL stint. Brian Schottenheimer is actually a good quarterbacks coach and might be able to greatly improve Lynch, but it would be a huge risk to keep Lynch as Wilson’s backup simply as a project.
The simple fact is, neither Smith nor Lynch are good answers to which quarterback should backup Russell Wilson. If Wilson goes down with injury, the Seahawks goes down with him. And neither Lynch nor Smith can change that.