The Seahawks wrapped up the most recent phase of the offseason recently with OTAs and minicamp, and training camp is roughly one month away.
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Entering those practices with the lead in the quarterback race is Geno Smith, who has been with the Seahawks since 2019. Behind him is Drew Lock, who Seattle acquired this offseason in the blockbuster trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
So how can Lock make up ground on Smith once training camp begins? Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus said there are three things Lock needs to do to tighten the race with Smith on the depth chart. He broke it down during Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports 710 AM on Tuesday.
No. 1: Be on time
“The first thing he needs to do is when he’s out there being the quarterback at practice is be on time, right?” Bumpus said. “You have to be on time with your throws, you’ve got to get the ball out quickly. When you are on time, you’re putting your receivers in great position. When you are late, you’re leaving receivers out to dry. You’re going across the middle, they’re getting hit, and they’re not getting the ball with time to make moves and get up the field. So that’s the main thing is get to that back foot and let it go.”
Why is this especially critical for Lock?
“He doesn’t have the experience to process a defense and manipulate a defense the way that these great quarterbacks do (like) the Josh Allens, the Russell Wilsons, the Pat Mahomes,” Bumpus said. “… Being on time is going to help him greatly.”
No. 2: Checking into the right play
Quarterbacks have the ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage depending on what the defense is presenting. Bumpus thinks Lock being able to do that would go a long way for both himself as well as the Seahawks’ offense.
“When you have a run play going, an outside zone going, that means your running back is gonna get the ball and aim towards the tackle and try to get outside. If (the defense is) overloading one side, check to the other side, right?” Bumpus said. “If they have seven or eight guys in the box and you feel like you have a one-on-one matchup outside and you can make that throw, check into that.”
Bumpus admitted this isn’t something he expects Lock to do too often, especially early on, but once he’s more comfortable with the Seahawks’ offense he should be able to make more changes as needed.
“Once you get comfortable and once you understand the offense and what you’re trying to do, you start checking into things. And I think that’s what Russell (Wilson) wanted to do more often than not, and they didn’t really give him the freedom to, but he did do it,” he said. “With Drew Lock, I’m looking for him to do it and do it at the right time. Early in the game, you run your plays, but if it’s late, it’s time to be clutch. If this play isn’t gonna work, have the knowledge to check out of a play and put your offense in the right play.”
No. 3: Make plays to make teammates believe in you
“Make the play you’re not supposed to,” Bumpus said. “You’re about to go down and you’re being tackled, you roll out of that thing, you point down the field and DK (Metcalf) is wide open and boom, you make that play. Or it’s third-and-short, you’re on a boot, there’s a D-end right there, you shake him, boom, you lower that shoulder and you pick up that first down. Every now and then a QB has to make a play that makes the guys on the sideline, the guys in the huddle, look at each other and say, ‘That’s our dude right there. He’s sacrificing himself for the better this team.’”
Once those teammates believe in the quarterback, Bumpus said, then they start making more plays, as well.
Just how critical is it to have belief in a quarterback?
“I’ve played with quarterbacks that we just didn’t believe in. Like, ‘He’s not going to make the right throw. He’s not going to make the right play,’” Bumpus recalled of his days as a college and professional wide receiver. “Russell Wilson used to get in the huddle and get on one knee and call the play and these guys, they’re focused on Russell Wilson … The way you call that play, the way you can man the huddle says a lot about you as a leader and as a football player.”
“Right now when I go to these practices, I see Drew Lock trying to get these guys to believe in him,” Bumpus later added. “Again, I’m not in the huddle, I’m on the sideline 20-30 yards away. But I look at body language. I think that’s where Geno has that upper hand (right now) because he can get in that huddle and be like, ‘Boys we’ve done this before.’”
Listen to the full second hour of Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player below.
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