New Seahawks OC Ryan Grubb impressed by Geno Smith’s skills

Ryan Grubb turned Michael Penix Jr. into a Heisman Trophy finalist during his two seasons as Washington’s offensive coordinator.

His next task is turning Geno Smith back into a high-level starter for the Seattle Seahawks.

Grubb, now offensive coordinator of the Seahawks, is installing his system and at some point will have the quarterback to run it.

For now, Smith is well ahead of newcomer Sam Howell as Grubb learns what his signal callers do best.

“I think that there is a really good marriage there with some of the skillset that Geno has,” Grubb said. “I think that we ask our quarterbacks to do a lot. Luckily for us, Geno’s really athletic as well. I think for us, we don’t have to limit it to just dropback. I think he’s really good in the play-action game as well, which will be a big part of our offense.

“And I think for us, it’s not just the five-step all the time, but I do think that Geno is really good at getting the ball out on time and very efficient with the football, which he obviously showed in ’22, led the league in completion percentage. Understanding how to get the ball out on time and really take care of the football is something that works obviously really well.”

Smith, 33, has been a Pro Bowl selection the past two seasons, but his 2022 season was much better than last year.

Smith led the NFL with a 69.8 completion percentage and established career highs of 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2022.

Last season, he completed 64.7 percent of his throws and his numbers dropped to 3,624 yards and 20 scores.

That production came under now departed coach Pete Carroll. Mike Macdonald is the new head coach and Grubb has control of the offense after Seattle lured him away from Alabama, where Grubb had followed former University of Washington coach Kalen DeBoer.

The trade for the 23-year-old Howell was to obtain someone with experience who might push Smith. Howell was a first-year starter for the Washington Commanders last season and led the NFL with 21 interceptions while throwing for 3,946 yards and 21 touchdowns.

“They’re freaking awesome,” the 48-year-old Grubb said of Smith and Howell. “They are. I think that they’re both really, really hard workers. They’re very diligent, intelligent and I know that it means a lot to them and I think that their leadership in the room and how they react and work together says a lot about the kind of guys that they are.”

Smith has liked what he has seen from Grubb in his early dealings with him.

“Coach Grubb is doing a great job being demanding, making sure guys are studying and on point and knowing their assignments, but also giving guys some grace,” Smith said. “It is a new system … and guys are going to mess some things up. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing. We can gain from that. So Grubb is doing a great job. It’s our job to make the plays come alive and make it all look good.”

Seattle will reportedly add veteran P.J. Walker to the quarterback room. The 29-year-old Walker has started nine NFL games while playing for the Carolina Panthers (2020-22) and Cleveland Browns (2023).

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