Sep 7, 2023 - Sports

High hopes for Seahawks with Geno Smith at the helm

Geno Smith in a home jersey with No. 7 emblazoned on it looks downfield while holding the football.

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks looks to pass while playing the New York Jets earlier this year. Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Many pundits expected the Seahawks to tumble last season after trading franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver and replacing him with veteran castoff Geno Smith.

  • What happened next instead changed the trajectory of the franchise.

Why it matters: The soon-to-be 33-year-old Smith was not only serviceable last season, but played well enough to keep Seattle's contention window open.

  • So instead of having to use the picks from the Wilson trade on a young QB, the Seahawks have been able to completely reload their roster with young, exciting talent.

What we're watching: The potential boost from two rookies, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back Zach Charbonnet. The Seahawks scored the ninth-most points per game in the NFL last season, but could easily be a top-five offense this year if those two contribute (Smith-Njigba broke his wrist in the preseason but is expected to play Week 1).

Data: DraftKings; Table: Axios Visuals

Best case scenario: Talented No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon joins fellow defensive backs Tariq Woolen, Coby Bryant, Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams to form Seattle's best secondary since the Legion of Boom.

  • And buoyed by Smith's resurgence, the offense leaps into the upper echelon of the league, allowing the Seahawks to compete with the 49ers for the NFC West crown and maybe even make a playoff run.

Worst case scenario: Smith turns back into a pumpkin, the rookies can't stay healthy, the run defense continues to get shredded even after the return of linebacker Bobby Wagner and the Seahawks finish the season below .500.

What's next: The Seahawks open the 2023 season at home against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 10.

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