Seahawks QB Geno Smith has already proved he's no one-year wonder

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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There's certainly no shortage of doubters for Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith as he attempts to lead his team even further in the playoffs for 2023. I believe he's already proven he's got what it takes. Just compare his career to other so-called one-year wonders, and you'll agree.

Yes, Geno Smith knows he has his doubters, and he's okay with that. In fact, he revels in it. Despite his success last season, he's taking nothing for granted this year. Despite his shiny new three-year contract, Smith said he's taking on the challenges of the NFL year by year. That's excellent news for the Seahawks (and for us 12s, of course). However, if we look deeper, we can see even better reasons to believe that Number 7 will have the Hawks back in the playoffs

Geno Smith wasn't exactly the first quarterback to struggle early in his career, then nail the comeback in a big way. For example, there have been several comparisons made between Smith and Rich Gannon. Like Smith, Gannon saw his career fizzle over several years with a couple of teams and then staged a sweet comeback after years in the wilderness. But the comparison doesn't really hold up, as we're about to see.

Seahawks QB Geno Smith had a comeback like no other

Let's make that comparison of Gannon and Smith, then move on to better comparisons. Although as you'll see, there really isn't one that truly fits. Smith was drafted in the second round by the Jets, the 39th overall pick in 2013. That's not that high, true, but it was an awful year for quarterbacks. E. J. Manuel was the only QB drafted ahead of Geno, while the other luminaries taken that year include Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon. Do you want to know how bad? Despite his late jump to the upper echelon of the league, Smith has more career passing yards than the number two and three QBs combined, and nearly as many touchdowns. With a good 2023, he'll pass all other 2013 draftees combined in every significant career stat. So yeah, it was a lousy year for QBs.

Sorry, I was supposed to be talking about Seahawks. He was taken by the Patriots in the fourth round of 1987. It wasn't exactly the 1983 draft, but with Vinny Testaeverde, Steve Beuerlein, and Jim Harbaugh, it had a lot more talent than Smith's class. So Gannon had a lot less pressure on him from the start than Smith. In fact, there was no pressure on Gannon, as New England planned to covert him to a running back or receiver. Apparently, they saw him as the 1987 model of Taysom Hill. Thankfully Gannon refused the position switch and was traded to the Vikings. Otherwise, he would have eventually shredded the Seahawks' defense at some point. We've had enough of those slash guys, thanks.

So Gannon rode the bench for his first three seasons in Minnesota and had ample time to adjust to the league, unlike Smith. Geno Smith was the starter in New York from game one and faced even more pressure from the fans and the media than he did from the Pats or Bills. Gannon didn't get his first start until year four and was never very good in Minnesota. His best passer rating was just 81.5; he only had 16 TDs in his best season and matched it with 16 INTs the same year. Meanwhile, Smith was relegated to the bench in year three. Yes, he was recovering from a broken jaw in 2015, but a return to full health didn't produce a return to the starting lineup. In his two seasons as the Jets start, Smith threw 25 TDs vs 34 INTs, while his best passer rating was just 77.5. Gannon had years to prepare and still failed, while Smith was pressed into duty too soon, and found the bench, just like Gannon.

Both teams gave up on their quarterbacks. Minnesota traded Gannon to Washington prior to the 1993 season. He played poorly in his four starts, going 1-3 with three touchdowns and seven picks, then missed all of the 1994 season with shoulder surgery. Gannon landed with the Chiefs in 1995 but was strictly a backup that year. Meanwhile, Smith barely escaped the bench in 2016, his last with the Jets, only to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. He wound up with the Giants in 2017, got one start, and was promptly sent back to the bench.