Seahawks position preview: Backup quarterback
The Seahawks have two options for backup quarterback and only one will make the roster. Who will be the coin toss king, Geno Smith or Anthony Gordon?
With the most injury-immune quarterback in the league Russell Wilson leading the huddle, the backup battle has always been an afterthought. In his eight seasons, Russell has not missed a single game, regular season or playoffs. This is an incredible accomplishment that has given Seahawks fans a feeling that we never have to worry about a contending team’s worst-case scenario, an injured QB.
This insane streak of starts has also made it so that other than the pre-season, the only time that we the fans ever get to see our backup QB on the field is for the overtime coin toss. But, with Wilson gaining another year in age, and the potential for a two-week quarantine for a positive COVID-19 test, the battle this year may be the most important of the Wilson era.
So, without further adieu Lets get to the breakdown of the members of the QB room.
The 2020 MVP runner up is going into his ninth season as the Seahawks starting QB, one-year shy of Matt Hasselbeck’s Seahawks record of 10 Seasons as the starting QB. Russ had an unbelievable 2019 which, statically speaking, was possibly his best year yet. He’s entering year one of his massive four-year $140 million extension.
A former second-round pick of the New York Jets, Smith has had one of the more basic “bust” careers. He has turned into a journeyman, looking for backup gigs, which led him to the Giants, Chargers, and now his second season with the Seahawks. Smith did not play a down of regular season football last season but did see himself tied up in controversy for his overtime coin toss call of what some heard to be, “Hails” against the San Francisco 49ers and, in this particular dual of even chance, former Seahawk Richard Sherman.
Smith beat out Paxton Lynch for the spot on the roster of backup QB last season after one of the more intriguing and close backup QB battles of Seahawks’ pre-season history. He will try to do it again this year against former WSU Cougar Anthony Gordon
Gordon went undrafted and immediately became one of the hottest commodities on the undrafted free agent market directly after the draft. He ended up signing with the Seahawks for a three year deal worth $2,297,500 with only $12,500 of that money being guaranteed.
My scouting report on Gordon is that he is a patient passer of the ball that always seems to be comfortable and confident in the pocket, and also has the mobility to avoid pressure and bail if he needs to. Sounds familiar to a certain current Seahawks starting QB, doesn’t it? He has some insanely good passing statistics, but of course, these stats were in a Mike Leach offense that saw Gordon lead the NCAA in passing attempts.
The downside of his game are his interceptions and poor choices on throwing into coverage. He also had rough games against better competition like Utah and Washington (unapologetic Go Dawgs plug). He threw 16 interceptions last season and a good, familiar, comparison for his game would be an N.C. State version of Russell Wilson.
Along with fellow rookies Jordan Brooks and Damien Lewis, I would say Gordon is one of the players I am most looking forward to seeing play in the pre-season.
And now for the important part of the preview that Pete Carroll will certainly look at himself, and consider in his decisions: My predictions.
For my other position previews, this question will be a tab bit more interesting, but for this one, it’s quite the obvious: Russell Wilson
I see Pete Carroll keeping Geno Smith on as the Backup for another year, while Anthony Gordon gets cut. However, I see the Seahawks parlaying Anthony Gordon’s pre-season into a longer stay in Seattle (really in this case Renton) as they sign him onto the practice squad. I would also see this as a move for Gordon to be groomed into the backup QB role for the future, spending a lot of 2020 learning the playbook and working on his few flaws.
If something were to happen to Russ this season, like a positive COVID-19 Test or minor week-to-week injury, I see Geno Smith being plugged into the starting spot. But, If Russ were to suffer his first season-ending injury, I would not be surprised to see Anthony Gordon ending up in the starting role if Smith has any kind of struggles.
This situation would be similar to what happened in Pittsburgh last season as practice squad cult hero “Duck” Hodges was moved into the starting role, replacing Mason Rudolph, who replaced Ben Roethlisberger. Maybe we will see Gordon turn into a Seahawks cult hero, as his WSU Cougar predecessor did this past season in Jacksonville.