RENTON — Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is the NFC Offensive Player of the Week and the leader in the NFL in completion percentage at a whopping 77.3%, the highest for a quarterback through the first four games of a season in NFL history.
But if any of this surprises you, Smith said there’s just one reason.
“It’s because you have never seen me throw,” Smith said during his regular weekly meeting with the media Thursday.
Well, as the questioner had noted, few had over the past eight years. Smith had not been a regular starter since 2014 before winning Seattle’s starting job entering this season.
The gap in opening-day starts was the widest for any NFL quarterback since 1970, and Smith had only five starts in fill-in roles from 2015-21.
And it was Smith’s relative invisibility the previous seven seasons — following a two-year stint with the Jets in 2013-14 in which he had an 11-18 record as a starter — that led to skepticism among many NFL observers about how he would play with the Seahawks.
But Smith has been one of the biggest revelations in the league, with two of the top four passing-yardage totals of his career the past two weeks — 320 against Detroit and 325 against Atlanta — and a six-to-two touchdown-to-interception ratio for the season.
And as Smith has gotten questions about whether this surprises him, he has insisted he expected it all along.
“I’ve made nothing of it,” Smith said Thursday when asked what he makes of his hot start to the season. “I’m just playing ball. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
But if it comes off as Smith trying to prove anything to anybody, he said that’s not his aim.
“I have no issue with anybody at all,” he said when asked if he took offense at anyone who questioned him.
Instead, he said he just had the confidence all along that if he got another chance to start in the NFL that he would take full advantage.
And if someone wonders if Smith can keep it going, he said Thursday that to the contrary — he can get better, saying that he can improve at “everything.”
He mentioned an overthrow on a deep pass to Tyler Lockett in Sunday’s game that likely would have gone for a touchdown.
“I’m always going to be my own toughest critic, so I always feel like I can play better,” Smith said. “In that game specifically I feel like I left a touchdown out there, the one to Tyler Lockett. Then it’s accuracy and things like that. Those are the things, my reads, my footwork and my accuracy, I’m hard on myself on those things, and I still feel like I’m growing in those areas. I can definitely get better.”
Thursday’s injury report for the Seahawks featured one piece of good news — running back Rashaad Penny was listed as a full participant after he sat out Wednesday because of a sore shoulder.
But it also featured two names added to the report — running back Kenneth Walker III (shoulder) and receiver Marquise Goodwin (knee). Neither had been on the report Wednesday, and players being listed as limited sometimes indicates an injury that happened in practice. More clarity on injuries will come Friday when the Seahawks release their game status report for Sunday’s game at the Saints.
Sitting out Thursday were receiver Dareke Young (quad) who had been limited Wednesday, linebacker Darryl Johnson (ankle) and defensive tackle Al Woods (rest day). Johnson was hurt in Sunday’s game.
Also limited were cornerback Justin Coleman (calf), guard Gabe Jackson (knee/resting vet), defensive end Quinton Jefferson (elbow) and guard Damien Lewis (calf). Jackson and Jefferson were upgraded from DNPs on Wednesday, and Coleman and Lewis were limited Wednesday.
Center Austin Blythe returned to practice after being absent on Wednesday to attend to the birth of his third child.
For the Saints, receiver Michael Thomas (foot) and quarterback Jameis Winston (back/ankle) sat out again, indicating that Andy Dalton may get his second consecutive start at quarterback.
Also out was guard Calvin Throckmorton (ankle), a graduate of Newport High School. Throckmorton started and played every snap Sunday against the Vikings in London.