It's Geno time!
Smith has been Russell Wilson's backup in Seattle for the past three years, after spending 2018 as a backup with the Chargers. Smith had attempted just nine passes in three years (2018-2020) before last week. The time on the sideline has taught the former New York Jets starter patience both on and off the field.
"Knowing I have a capability to play in this league, but I'm just not getting that opportunity for a number of years was a test of patience," Smith said, per the Associated Press. "And that also goes for me playing quarterback on the field. When I was younger, coming from college we put up so many points. I was just so used to scoring every time and so that was my mentality. But the NFL, man, you ain't going to score every time."
Taking over after Wilson injured his finger, Smith shined, leading Seattle on multiple fourth-quarter scoring drives in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Rams. Smith completed 10 of 17 passes for 131 yards and a TD. A late interception when receiver Tyler Lockett slipped wiped out a comeback bid for Smith and the Seahawks, but the performance was encouraging.
With Wilson undergoing surgery, expected to sideline the starter at least until Week 10, the Seahawks are counting on Smith to keep their season alive after a 2-3 start.
Smith has been through adversity throughout his career after being anointed the Jets savor as a 23-year-old eight years ago. After an up-and-down start to his career, Smith lost his starting job with Gang Green in 2015 when his jaw was broken from a punch from teammate IK Enemkpali. He's made just two starts since, with the last coming in 2017 as a member of the New York Giants.
"Any time you get adversity, it's a chance for you to show what you are really about and to respond," Smith said. "At the time, looking back on it, in that moment was I totally aware of that? Probably not. But as you go on, you just grow and see how those things can help and shape you to get better. I think that's what it did."
On Sunday night, Smith will face a Steelers defense that can wreck a quarterback with T.J. Watt screaming off the edge (5.0 sacks, 10 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles) and Cameron Heyward destroying the pocket inside. Shine against Pittsburgh's defense, and Geno's career will have truly come full-circle.