Geno Smith, the story of the 2022 NFL season: from forgotten backup to superstar in one breath

chosen with the pick 39 of the Draft 2013 for the New York Jets, Gene Smith could be considered until recently as someone close to a bust: bad first year as a rookie on the Jets, barely improved in the second and since then, eternal understudy in different franchises of the NFL.

Between 2015 and 2021, Smith only started five games between Jets, Giants, Chargers and Seahawks, where he has been playing since 2020.

In Seattle, it was the Russell Wilson injury life insurance and he had already had some good performances last season, precisely in games in which Russ was not present: he pitched for 702 yards with 65 of 95 completions (68.4%), scored 5 touchdowns and had just one interception. His rating of 103 was identical to that of Wilson himself, the team’s starter, but of course, the sample was very small (just three games as a starter).

The second Life Smith’s career in the NFL had its defining moment in the United States last summer, when Seattle decided to trade Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. In the exchange, another quarterback came to the Seahawks as Drew Lockwho would fight Smith to be the starting quarterback once the season started.

The forecasts for the Seahawks were the worst possiblewith a over/under put in just 5.5 wins. The third worst in the NFL, just above the Falcons and Texans, with a 4.5.

However, a couple of months later, Seattle has become one of the biggest surprises of the campaignleading the NFC West with 4-3 recordappearing between top five offenses in the league in points and yardsand even beginning to dream of a qualification to playoffs that until recently looked like an impossible dream.

The great protagonist for it? Gen Smith, of course.

The quarterback born in Florida has been a spectacle. To get started, leads the NFL with a completion percentage of 73.5%. In addition, it carries 11 touchdowns against just 3 interceptions and has a mean of almost 245 passing yards per game, plus another 19 (with a touchdown) on the ground.

Numbers that can quietly put it on the discussion for the MVPas unreal as that phrase might sound until the previous season.

Smith always had the talent and the natural tools to stand out in the NFLbut it has only been at 32 years where he seems to have found the necessary maturity to fully exploit these virtues. Partly because of the good context found in Seattle with receivers like Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and the trident of tight ends (Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson and Noah Fant, all in the top 16 at their position according to PFF); and partly for having received an opportunity that many years ago I did not have.

And it is that if one takes Smith’s numbers between 2017 and 2021, one finds that this version in superstar mode was already beginning to appear: in 12 games (only 4 starts) during those seasons, he completed the 65% of his passes and had 6 touchdowns against an interceptionfor a more than positive rating of 96. Far from the spectacular 108 this year, but worthy of a starting QB.

Wilson’s departure opened the door for him and Smith made the most of his opportunity. Demonstrating not only that precision that leads him to lead the NFLbut also a powerful and accurate arm for deep passes: Leads the league in passing deep down the left field (10) and is second in passing down the middle (9).

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Geno Smith, the story of the 2022 NFL season: from forgotten backup to superstar in one breath