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Seahawks QB Geno Smith on his outlook for 2024 season: 'I got everything to prove'

An 11th NFL season awaits Geno Smith, and like many before, the veteran quarterback is fighting to overcome obstacles ahead.

There's a new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks and a new, younger addition to the QB room.

Nevermind that Smith is the anointed starter, the two-time Pro Bowler is intent on establishing himself yet again in what he views as a never-ending bout for respect.

"New coaching staff, old coaching staff, I got everything to prove," Smith told reporters Wednesday amid Seattle's week of voluntary offseason workouts. "That's every day, that's the way I wake up every day. I'm competing with Sam [Howell]. I know he's competing with me. I'm going to compete my butt off; I'm competing with everybody in this building to be the best that I can be. I really don't approach it any other way."

It's been a historic offseason for the Seahawks, as the club parted ways with Pete Carroll as head coach and hired former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to take over.

There were murmurs about Smith's future, but general manager John Schneider made it clear "Geno’s our guy" during the Annual League Meeting despite the acquisition of Howell.

It's hardly extinguished the competitive fire of Smith, who restructured his contract this offseason, as well. In many ways, it's just who Smith is.

A second-round selection of the New York Jets in 2013, Smith flamed out in Gotham before spending one-year stints with the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers. He found his way to the Seahawks in 2020 and has been there since, having undergone a career renaissance. In 2021, he filled in for an injured Russell Wilson and in 2022 took over when Wilson was shipped to the Denver Broncos. Smith keyed a Seahawks playoff berth and won AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Last year, he didn't shine as brightly but still played well, particularly down the stretch.

Asked Wednesday if he believes he gets the respect he deserves, Smith said he was ultimately uncertain, but regardless gained motivation in continuing to fight to achieve it.

"Honestly, I don't know," he said. "I think in one case I think could say, 'Yeah, I do get it,' in other ways I think you say no. Again, my job is to fight for that respect and that's the thing I enjoy about it, the competing part about just continuing to fight for my respect in this league."

The never-say-die mentality is one that Carroll no doubt played a major role in conveying to Smith.

"Always compete," Smith said when asked what he learned from Carroll. "Always compete. Always go for it. Never back down."

Who knows where Smith would be if it weren't for Carroll. Hence, it's not that surprising that the quarterback looks back upon Carroll's exit from coaching the Seahawks as a dark day.

"That day is a day I'll probably remember forever, just because of how things happened for me here," he said. "Obviously, coach Carroll is a big influence on my career, helped me out a bunch when I came to this organization. Really helped me, thrust me into the spotlight that I'm in now. For me, it was kind of a terrible moment to see someone that I love so much, having to part ways with him. That's the way of the NFL. That's the way things go. Very excited for what we have here now and just the direction we're heading in."

The direction the Seahawks are flying in is led by Macdonald.

Just four years Smith's senior, the young Macdonald has brought in offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, formally the University of Washington head coach.

"Coach Grub, he knows his stuff, he knows his system, knows how he wants it done," Smith said. "You can tell he's very confident in his play-calling and the way that he's gonna get us to do things as an offense. Right now, we're just in the beginning stages of learning this offense."

Smith called the offense "pretty complex" upon his first look as he and his teammates take on new terminology, protections and everything in between.

As Smith and Co. learn Grubb's system, they're also getting used to Macdonald.

By Smith's account, the onus will be on the Seahawks being a physical, hard-hitting and confident squad that's poised for bigger and brighter days after back-to-back nine-win seasons.

"From what I've seen so far, he's got a vision," Smith said. "He's got a plan. He already laid it out for us as a team and it's our job to help him and his job to help us get there. Right now, like I said, we're just in the beginning of all this, but when we played him last year with the Ravens, you could tell how his scheme worked and just how good they were as a defense last year. How they excelled as a defense. We know the type of scheme that he has, but also the type of leadership that he brings, the type of man that he is, and overall just being a great coach. That's something we look forward to."

This will, of course, be Smith's first season as a Seahawk playing for anybody other than Carroll.

It's a massive change, with Carroll held in high regard by his former players. He is the most successful coach in the history of the franchise, after all.

However, this isn't Smith's first time dealing with a coaching change. In his first six seasons in the NFL, Smith played for five head coaches (including one interim HC). He believes the key will be looking forward and embracing Macdonald's vision.

"The real thing is you gotta buy in," he said. "No matter who the coach is, no matter who's leading this thing, you gotta buy in. And all the guys have got to buy in and that's the key message. Right now, I feel like that's what's happening."

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