Wilson will sit out Seahawks preseason opener as Smith starts

For the first time in his career, Russell Wilson will sit out the Seahawks first preseason game. Relax, there’s a method to this apparent madness.

What’s that? The Seahawks aren’t playing Russell Wilson in the preseason opener? Before you throw yourself into total panic mode, stop worrying right now, 12s. Wilson is just fine. He isn’t sitting this one out to rest some hush-hush injury. In fact, the decision to sit DangeRuss has nothing to do with him. It’s all about the competition behind him. That is, the backup quarterback position.

For the first time in a few years, the Seahawks have two competitors for the backup spot with no clear choice for the job. Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch are the two competitors in the mix. So far, neither one has pulled away in training camp. Wisely, Pete Carroll wants to get a long look at both of them before making such a critical decision. Hopefully, it won’t make a bit of difference and Wilson will take every snap behind center like he did last season. But just in case, the Hawks need the best possible player ready.

Smith will get the start versus Denver. Presumably, he’ll play just the first half, while Lynch takes the reins for the second. I wouldn’t put too much stock in Smith getting the starting nod. I think it’s just as likely Carroll wants Lynch to settle into the atmosphere of the game, as he’s likely to be pretty amped to take on his former team. Lynch made a point of saying how welcome he feels in Seattle, and how much it feels like a family. Reading between the lines is pretty easy here: Seahawks good, Broncos bad. So, yeah, I think Lynch wants to show Denver just how wrong they were to let him go.

Whether the Broncos were actually wrong or not is another discussion entirely. He certainly didn’t play well in his two seasons in Mile High. Then again, look at his final year, 2017. Denver’s “best” quarterback – and yes, there’s a reason that’s in quotes – was Trevor Siemian, with a sparkling passer rating of 73.3. Lynch’s was 72.0. So Lynch may be right to be a bit perturbed with the Broncos.

As for Smith, it seems like he’s bounced around the league forever, even though the Seahawks are just his fourth stop in seven years. Smith has never set the world on fire, either. His career passer rating is 72.7, four points lower than Lynch’s career mark. Like Lynch, Smith was never with a particularly good team until just last year, when he backed up Philip Rivers for the Chargers. As he only attempted four passes, it isn’t exactly the best way to get a read on his ability.

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So, both men will get a lot of looks in the preseason. Don’t be so sure that Smith is the favorite simply because he’s much more similar to Wilson. Lynch is about as close to the opposite of Wilson as you can get. But Austin Davis wasn’t exactly a clone of number 3 either, and he got the backup gig in 2017. Hopefully, whoever wins will get as many regular-season snaps as Davis did (five, with no pass attempts).

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