In what is otherwise a completely forgettable preseason opener for Seattle, Seahawks backup quarterback Geno Smith got completely battered behind what could charitably be called the third-team offensive line. Unfortunately for Smith, the many hits he suffered put him out of the game with a concussion, leading the team to use Alex McGough and Sean Mannion for most of the action.
Smith has long been seen as a lock to back up Russell Wilson for a third-straight season. He has the trust of Pete Carroll and a good rapport with Wilson, as well as plenty of experience in the league from which to draw upon. However, Smith lacks the upside of more than a backup. He's a perfectly competent backup, but he doesn't carry the age or skill level to suggest more is there than what he's shown.
But with an opportunity to open up the competition on Saturday, McGough and Mannion weren't anything to write home about. McGough went 6-of-10 on his throws for 54 yards, 43 of which came on the lone Seahawks touchdown of the night with DeeJay Dallas doing the bulk of the work. He also ran for 25 yards, showing the ability to extend plays that Smith hasn't shown in recent years. Mannion went 7-of-11 for just 34 yards, a meager 3.1 yards per attempt.
We do not yet know the severity of Smith's concussion, but it appears to be a safe bet to assume he won't be suiting up next Saturday against the Broncos. Wilson will likely see the field in that game, but a majority of the reps will be handled by Mannion and McGough once more. Ultimately, Smith is still in prime position to retain his backup role, unless the severity of the injury dictates that he'll miss time in the regular season.
If this was the case, Seattle would likely be in the market for a veteran. Blake Bortles would make a lot of sense in this scenario. He's familiar with the offense being installed by Shane Waldron and, like Smith, has plenty of experience to man the position capably. But if Mannion or McGough want to make this an actual competition, they'll need to show a lot more than they did in Las Vegas. If not, Smith may have very well locked down the role by default.