RENTON — Those looking for answers about who will win the Seahawks starting quarterback job will have to wait just a bit longer.
Thursday morning at the VMAC, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll hinted that the final quarterback decision could still be weeks away, even into the days leading up to the team’s Sept. 12 season opener against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football at Lumen Field.
The plan coming into the preseason was for Geno Smith to start the first preseason game against the Steelers on Aug. 13, and for Drew Lock to start the second game against Chicago on Aug. 18, so the team could evaluate both of them evenly as starting quarterbacks. But Lock’s positive COVID-19 test on Aug. 16 threw that plan into disarray.
On Friday, Smith will make his third straight start in Seattle’s preseason finale against Dallas, with Lock still slated to see plenty of snaps against the Cowboys.
“I hope he has a great game,” Carroll said of Lock. “He’s going to get a lot of playing time and get real comfortable out there. Like I said, it’s really unfortunate that the rhythm didn’t get to happen like we wanted it to last week, so we’ve got to make up a little bit of time, make sure he gets his reps, and we’ll see what happens.”
Lock threw two touchdown passes in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh, but gave up a fumble in the fourth quarter when he was sacked by Pittsburgh’s Mark Robinson at the 47 yard line, setting the Steelers up for a five-play touchdown drive.
Smith, meanwhile, is 20-for-33 passing this preseason for 213 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions.
While Smith is still on top of the quarterback depth chart for Seattle, Carroll has made it clear that Lock still could catch up and win the starting job. While Smith has gotten more first team reps this preseason than Lock, it’s not by much. By Carroll’s count, Smith and Lock’s practice rep numbers are somewhere in the range of 338 to 327 over the course of training camp.
“We’ve really worked hard, the more we’ve been in camp, to get him with the guys he needs to be with, to give him a legitimate shot to work with those guys,” Carroll said about Lock.
Still, the timeline for when the final decision gets made is one that Carroll is holding close to the vest. When asked if he would make a decision soon, or if he was comfortable taking it down to just days before the season opener, Carroll’s response was short.
“Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking.”
Rashaad Penny out with COVID-19
Running back Rashaad Penny is currently out with COVID-19, Carroll said after Thursday’s walk-through. Penny has not been seen on the practice field the past several days and will miss Friday’s game.
“He’s been out for a few days, but he has next to no symptoms at all,” Carroll said.
Penny has not played in either of the first two preseason games while dealing with a groin injury. Carroll went on to say that Penny would be quick to return, but decided to get tested after feeling a bit weird earlier in the week.
“He just felt like he was a little bit off,” Carroll said. “He didn’t have the throat or the nose and all that kind of stuff. He didn’t have all the aches and pains and all that, I think he felt a little fatigued.”
With both Penny and Ken Walker III (hernia) out this week, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas should both see significant snaps, along with new signee Ronnie Rivers.
- Tight end Tyler Mabry’s back is still locked up, according to Carroll, and he has not been able to practice this week.
- Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) will be back in time for the opening game of the season, according to Carroll.
- Safety Ryan Neal is progressing in his rehabilitation from a high-ankle sprain. Carroll said that Neal is optimistic he will be back in time for the start of the regular season, but his status is still uncertain.
- Linebacker Tyreke Smith (hip) will not play this weekend but is making progress in his return from a hip injury.
- Sidney Jones (concussion) will not play this week.
- Carroll is uncertain about whether defensive lineman L.J. Collier (elbow) will play Friday. Collier, the team’s No. 1 2019 draft pick, has not played this preseason since getting injured Aug. 6 in Seattle’s mock game.
- Dee Eskridge (hamstring) will play Friday, as will cornerback Artie Burns (groin), Carroll confirmed.