Monday, February 6 2023

There are a handful of NFL teams with quarterback competitions this summer. 

With the preseason in full swing, let’s dive into where the league’s quarterback battles stand. 

Pete Carroll announces Geno Smith will start at QB in the Seahawks‘ Week 1 matchup against the Broncos.

Carroll made the announcement following the team’s final preseason game Friday night, which resulted in a 27-26 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Smith started the game and led the Seahawks to a field goal in his lone series before giving way to Drew Lock, who threw a touchdown pass and three interceptions in the loss.

“Geno was solid in his outing and he’s gonna start,” Carroll said following the game. “He’s earned it.”

Smith and Lock had been alternating first-team reps throughout training camp practices. Lock was supposed to start Seattle’s second preseason tilt against the Chicago Bears, but those plans were foiled after Lock tested positive for COVID-19. It robbed the 25-year-old QB of a critical opportunity to push Smith for the starting job.

“The time frame got messed up for us for Drew,” Carroll said. “He just ran out of time in making his bid for it.”

Smith said he learned that he would be the Seahawks’ Week 1 starter when Carroll addressed the team in the locker room following Friday night’s game.

“Obviously I’m thankful for the opportunity and grateful, but I have a lot of work ahead of me,” Smith said. “It’s really about winning and none of this would matter if we don’t go out and win the games we’re supposed to win.”

Kenny Pickett impresses in Pittsburgh Steelers’ second preseason game

Pickett received more snaps in the Steelers’ 16-15 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. While playing against better competition, Pickett had a productive day, completing 6-of-7 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown with a 151.5 passer rating. 

While Mitchell Trubisky got the starting nod, coach Mike Tomlin made it a point to play the rookie alongside the first-team offense. 

“We simply want to see Kenny in more varsity action,” Tomlin said. “We know more about Mason [Rudolph]. Mitch has been around the professional game, obviously. So, this is a big week for [Pickett] in terms of maybe getting in the first half of this game and I would imagine getting the opportunity to see frontline defenders for Jacksonville.”

Pickett has still mostly taken snaps with the Steelers’ second unit in practice. 

Trubisky started the Steelers’ first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, leading Pittsburgh on an opening-drive touchdown. The drive was capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass to Gunner Olszewski. Trubisky finished the night 4-for-7 on passing attempts with 63 yards and the touchdown. 

Rudolph, entering his fifth season with the Steelers, picked up where Trubisky left off, completing 9-of-15 passes for 93 yards. His night was highlighted by a 26-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver George Pickens

Pickett, the No. 20 pick in the 2022 draft, had a sparkling debut. The University of Pittsburgh product finished the night with 95 passing yards and two touchdowns on 13-for-15 passing, taking what the defense gave him. Pickett’s efficiency potentially tightens Pittsburgh’s quarterback competition.

“They moved their units,” Mike Tomlin said of his QBs. “They did the informal things associated with the position from a leadership and communication standpoint. They were engaged. It was a good first time out for all three.”

Carolina’s Matt Corral likely out for the season

Rookie QB Matt Corral suffered a “significant” Lisfranc injury late in the Panthers’ second preseason game against the New England Patriots this past Friday. Coach Matt Rhule said afterward that he expects the third-round pick to miss the season. 

Corral threw for 58 yards on 9-of-15 passing and no touchdowns before exiting. 

He was one of four candidates for the starting quarterback spot entering camp, along with Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker. Mayfiled and Darnold were rested in Carolina’s 20-10 loss to the Pats. All four QBs played in the team’s preseason opener against the Washington Commanders, with the veterans holding their own.

Mayfield, who was recently acquired from the Cleveland Browns, started for the Panthers and finished with 45 passing yards on 4-for-7 passing. Darnold, the team’s primary quarterback in 2021, was impactful in brief reps. The fifth-year quarterback was 2-for-3, including an 8-yard touchdown to Rashard Higgins. Walker, whose roster spot is in jeopardy given the team’s acquisition of Mayfield, got the most playing time of the bunch, throwing for 136 yards on 10-for-19 passing.

Corral, who Carolina traded up to select with the No. 94 pick in the 2022 draft, finished 1-for-9 for 11 yards. 

Head coach Rhule said he wouldn’t name a starter until after the team’s Aug. 19 matchup with the New England Patriots.

Mayfield and Darnold seem like the front-runners to start, however, given Mayfield’s four years of experience starting for the Browns and Darnold entering his second season with the Panthers.

“They were both in command,” Rhule said of Mayfield and Darnold. “Sam got us in the end zone, Baker led us down the field, so it looked like both guys played well in terms of production. We’ll go back and look and see where they are.”


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Source: FOX Sports

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