Geno Smith is well on his way to becoming the NFL’s bona fide starter.
In his 10th NFL season, the quarterback led the Seahawks to an impressive 7-5 record, but he hasn’t forgotten that he spent several seasons waiting for his chance, playing the No. 2 role for the Jets, Giants and Chargers. Three years behind former Seattle star Russell Wilson.
“My hard times would be somebody else’s dream,” Smith told reporters Thursday. “I never look at it as something that’s too heavy or too heavy for me. I had to wait until I got that chance.”
He ran with it as the unquestioned starter for the first time since the early days of the Jets, and led the way in passing yards (3,169), yards per attempt (8.1), completion percentage (72.7), touchdowns (22), QB bo won the first place. ratings (1-8.7), first downs (153) and completions of 20-plus yards (38).
“Football is interesting man. Especially if you have guys with you,” he said. “To go out there and compete with these guys … that’s all I can ask. I was excited about it every week.”
It’s a far cry from where the 32-year-old’s career began in 2013 as a second-round pick with the Jets. Smith quickly took over the starting reins and posted an 11-19 record in his first two seasons. It was a run that ended unceremoniously with teammate Ik Enemkpali’s broken jaw during a 2015 preseason practice. He bided his time and plied his trade, making spot starts along the way — famously ending Eli Manning’s streak that began in 2017.
On Sunday, Smith will see the face of the man responsible for that decision across Seattle’s Lumen Field when the Seahawks play the Panthers, former Giants coach Ben McAdoo, now Carolina’s offensive coordinator.
It was Smith’s start against the Raiders that ended McAdoo’s tenure in New York, something the QB hasn’t forgotten.
“Coach Mack has always been a really good coach for me,” Smith said. “I thought he had a plan when he was there, I thought he shortened his time with the Giants a little bit. But I understand that part of it is that he started me in that game. Credit to him for that. always held dear to my heart. I thought it was definitely a brave move, for him to lose his job, I kind of felt about it.
Smith doesn’t go easy on his old coach, and he doesn’t take anything for granted either.
“There will always be things to say about what I do and how I do it,” he said. “I just want to keep showing up every week for the guys around me.