QB Geno Smith leaving question of who starts for Seahawks in hands of the coaches

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Geno Smith is leaving the decision about whether he’ll play Thursday night in the hands of Pete Carroll and the rest of the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff.

“We’ll see how it goes. That’s up to coach,” Smith said on Tuesday, two days before the Seahawks host San Francisco in a key matchup in the NFC West race.

Smith left last Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the second half after taking a big hit from Aaron Donald as he released a pass late in the third quarter. Smith suffered a contusion at the base of his triceps on his right arm near where it meets the elbow.

Smith sat for the first two drives of the fourth quarter while Drew Lock took over. But Smith returned for Seattle’s final drive and got the Seahawks into field-goal position, but Jason Myers missed from 55 yards in the closing seconds.

There was no structural damage. Just swelling and discomfort. But Smith said the pain was significant when he came back in for the final drive.

“Pretty difficult, in a lot of pain, but just tried to go out there and do my best,” Smith said.

Smith finished 22 of 34 for 233 yards and one touchdown against the Rams, but afterward there seemed to be more questions about his decision-making than his arm injury.

Specifically, there were questions about why Smith called a run play to Zach Charbonnet in the closing seconds. After hitting DK Metcalf to reach the Rams 39-yard line with 23 seconds left, Smith opted not to spike the ball to stop the clock or call a pass play, but instead went with a run to Charbonnet. The play gained only 2 yards and left Myers with a lengthy attempt to win the game.

Adding to the difficulty of the moment, Smith’s headset in his helmet wasn’t working and he had to quickly make the play call at the line of scrimmage. Smith said outages happen occasionally, although the timing of this one was less than optimal.

“We thought we had the right play call that we could have got off and you know, could have got some more yards. Didn’t exactly work out the way we planned, but that’s just something we got to work on getting better at,” Smith said. “Overall, I’m sound with my decision-making and I feel good about what we did.”

Lock was in for just a handful of snaps that included throwing an interception at the end of his second drive. It was the second time this season Lock entered for a short stint while Smith was dealing with an injury — something Lock also did a couple of times during his final season with Denver.

Lock said that while by far being the starter is the toughest role, “in sports, in my opinion,” coming off the bench at any moment brings its own unique challenges.

“There’s just a lot of things that are more than just calling a play into a huddle and going and running it,” Lock said. “You’ve got to mold yourself into what type of game it is. There’s a 1,000 different situations you get put in.”


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl