CARDINALS CORNER

Arizona Cardinals can’t get caught sleeping vs. Geno Smith, Seahawks

Oct 13, 2022, 8:40 PM
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith warms up before an NFL football game against the New Orlean...

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith warms up before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

(AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

TEMPE — Not that long ago, the Seattle Seahawks were viewed by many as one of the worst teams in the NFL heading into the season.

Stuck between four-year pro Drew Lock and a 32-year-old Geno Smith at quarterback following the departure of Russell Wilson via trade this offseason, Seattle’s offense was on a clear path of regression, if not complete disaster.

Or so we thought.

After winning the starting job this offseason and becoming a full-time starter for the first time since 2014, Smith is turning heads and keeping Seattle right in the thick of things divisionally at 2-3.

Through five games, the signal caller has completed 75.2% of his passes for 1,305 yards and nine touchdowns to two interceptions. He’s tops in the league in terms of passer rating (113.1) and accuracy and is fourth among NFL signal callers in QBR (74.8).

He’s also utilizing his legs, chipping in 77 yards and a score on 20 attempts.

Smith’s play has the elevated an offense that was expected to flounder, with the Seahawks posting the fourth most expected points per play.

“It’s not like he’s throwing checkdowns, either,” defensive end J.J. Watt said Thursday. “He’s throwing 50-, 60-yard bombs and dropping it in the bucket and playing great football. He’s putting them in good situations, he can move when he has to. He’s doing an unbelievable job, so it’s a great challenge for us.”

The QB may be different in Seattle, but the ones on the receiving end remain largely the same behind the trio of Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Will Dissly.

Lockett (406) and Metcalf (372) are first and second among Seattle’s wideouts in receiving yards. The pair has combined for four touchdowns and 10 plays of at least 20 yards so far this season.

Dissly currently paces all Seahawks with three touchdowns. The tight end is well on his way to his best season as a pro.

For the Cardinals, keeping Seattle at bay will come down to winning the battle in the trenches and keeping the Seahawks one-dimensional.

That begins with wrecking Seattle’s run game. Arizona won’t have to worry about starting running back Rashaad Penny, who was having a career year before a broken fibula suffered last week sidelined him for the rest of the season.

The Cardinals will have to deal with Kenneth Walker III, however. The rookie filled in well in place of Penny against the New Orleans Saints, recording 88 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. He had rushed for just 58 yards on 15 attempts before Week 5.

“Penny was having a great year, but this kid is special,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Thursday. “They may get better with this guy. I don’t know. They’re doing it (Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s) way: running the football and taking shots. It’s going to be a challenge to stop the run game first with numbers and technique and guys making plays and then take away (Lockett and Metcalf).

“It’s almost an impossible task when you think about, loading the box for the run and taking away those two receivers. So, we’ll see how it gets done.”

And with a run game in check, that allows Zach Allen and Watt to go to work on Smith.

The duo has lifted up the pass rush early on this season. The sack numbers may not be outstanding on paper — it’s last in the NFL with six — but opposing quarterbacks are feeling the pressure.

Against a Seahawks offensive line that features two 2022 draft picks, opportunities should be there, especially for Allen, who is coming off back-to-back weeks with a sack and has eight QB hits on the year.

EXTRA POINT

– Kyler Murray on Smith:

“I was a big Geno Smith fan (when) he was at (West Virginia). He’s playing real hot right now. He’s playing really well. We’ve got be locked in this week because he’s playing … probably some of the best football any quarterback in the league is playing right now. The defense will be ready. We’ve got to be ready on offense to put up points and we know that.”

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray warms up ahead of practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OL Rodney Hudson warms up ahead of practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Cameron Thomas takes a drink in between drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Jesse Luketa runs through drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Victor Dimukeje runs through drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Dennis Gardeck runs through drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Markus Golden runs through drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Myjai Sanders runs through drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Myjai Sanders runs through drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals OLB Cameron Thomas runs through drills during practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray warms up ahead of practice on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Greg Dortch runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray throws a pass to WR Rondale Moore during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals TE Trey McBride laughs as he warms up for practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Laquon Treadwell runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Laquon Treadwell runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR A.J. Green runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Javon Wims and CB Byron Murphy run through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals CB Byron Murphy Jr. runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Rondale Moore runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray throws a pass to WR Hollywood Brown during practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram warms up ahead of practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals RB Ty'Shon Williams warms up ahead of practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals RB Corey Clement warms up ahead of practice on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Cardinals Corner

Arizona Cardinals OLB Myjai Sanders (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

How the Cardinals should attack the final 5 games

With little hope of turning the season around, it's time for the Arizona Cardinals to turn the page and look to the future.
13 hours ago
Paris Johnson Jr. #77 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action against the Northwestern Wildcats during...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals nab OL Paris Johnson in Brugler’s 1st mock draft for 2023

The Athletic's Dane Brugler graced us with his first mock of the year on Wednesday and has the Cardinals taking OSU's Paris Johnson at No. 7.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals S Jalen Thompson points during practice on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals’ Jalen Thompson left off ESPN’s under-25 ranking

Safety Jalen Thompson has been a constant within the Arizona Cardinals defense over the past couple seasons.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray looks on during practice on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals enter Week 13 with minute chance at making 2022 NFL playoffs

Mathematically, the Arizona Cardinals somehow still have a sliver of postseason hope remaining in the 2022 season.
4 days ago
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Out of office: Arizona Cardinals embark on bye week later than most

After 12 weeks of ups and downs, the Arizona Cardinals get a reprieve from all the minutia that comes with the NFL schedule.
5 days ago
Wide receiver Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for the snap during the second ha...
Tyler Drake

Pitch count? Hollywood Brown plays nearly every snap vs. Chargers

Hollywood Brown went from being on a snap count to leading all Cardinals wide receivers in the category in Week 12.
5 days ago
Arizona Cardinals can’t get caught sleeping vs. Geno Smith, Seahawks