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Former Jets QB Geno Smith to start for Seahawks with Russell Wilson sidelined

Geno Smith, NY Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Stats, Age
Geno Smith, NY Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Getty Images

Geno Smith takes over for Russell Wilson in Seattle

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson left the team’s Thursday night loss to the Rams with a hand injury. After getting an MRI on Friday, he is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks.

Taking Wilson’s place under center will be former New York Jets starter Geno Smith.

Seattle will take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh next Sunday, Oct. 17. It will be Smith’s first regular-season start in nearly four years.

Smith played 25 snaps in relief on Wilson on Thursday night, his longest regular-season appearance since starting a game for the Giants in Week 13 of the 2017 season (breaking Eli Manning’s streak of 210 straight starts). Since then, Smith had thrown only nine passes over six appearances with the Chargers and Seahawks.

There were signs of promise from Smith in his short appearance. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 131 yards (7.7 average), one touchdown, and one interception while rushing three times for 23 yards (7.7 average). Smith was not sacked.

The West Virginia product will turn 31 years old on Sunday, Oct. 10 (that has to make Jets fans feel old).

Drafted 39th overall by the Jets in the second round of the 2013 draft, Smith was thrust into action earlier than the team planned due to a season-ending injury suffered by Mark Sanchez in the preseason. Smith started all 16 games in his rookie season and led the Jets to an 8-8 record, tying Tom Brady for the NFL lead with five game-winning drives.

Smith showed flashes of promise in his debut campaign but ultimately had a long way to go as he tossed 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions while averaging a measly 190.4 passing yards per game, spearheading the second-worst passing offense in the NFL in terms of yards.

In his second season, Smith failed to take a substantial leap as he was benched in favor of a 34-year-old Michael Vick multiple times. He finished the season with 13 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and 180.4 passing yards per game, boosting his passer rating marginally from 66.5 as a rookie to 77.5 as a sophomore.

Smith did finish his second season on a high note, posting a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the season finale against Miami.

There was optimism that Smith could forge a third-year breakout under new head coach Todd Bowles and new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, but those hopes were dashed when Smith suffered a jaw injury at the hands of teammate IK Enemkpali just before the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick took over the starting job and never looked back.

Throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Smith served as Fitzpatrick’s backup when healthy. Smith took over for Fitzpatrick early in a 2015 game at Oakland and got extended action as he completed 27 of 42 passes for 265 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in a 34-20 loss. Those would be Smith’s only attempts of the season.

In 2016, Fitzpatrick was benched after an atrocious six-game start and Smith got the opportunity to start against the Ravens in Week 7. Smith completed four of his first eight passes for 95 yards and a touchdown until he left the game with a season-ending ACL injury.

Since then, Smith has bounced around waiting for his next opportunity. He served as Eli Manning’s backup with the Giants in 2017 and Philip Rivers’ backup with the Chargers in 2018. From 2019 to the present day, Smith has been Russell Wilson’s backup with the Seahawks.

Six years after his shot at a third season with the Jets was snatched in the blink of an eye, Smith will get another chance to show the football world what he can do.

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