For the first time since 2014, former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith will start Week One of the NFL season on the field and under center.
Smith is the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, who take on the Denver Broncos Monday night on ESPN in the teams’ season opener.
For Smith, he is looking to be a full-time starting quarterback for the first time since his second year in the league.
“I’m extremely excited. You know, I really can’t wait,” Smith told Seattle reporters on Friday. “I’m extremely excited for the opportunity.”
Just twice in the last seven years has he appeared in at least four games, and just once over that same span has he started multiple games in the same season.
That could all change beginning Monday night.
Smith beat out former Missouri quarterback Drew Lock to be Seattle’s starting quarterback this year.
The former Mountaineer completed 59 percent of his passes during the preseason. While he did not throw for a touchdown during any of Seattle’s three preseason contests, Smith did not turn the ball over, either.
Playing roughly one half of a game at a time in the build-up to the regular season, Smith completed 23 of 39 passes for 256 yards, and had an average quarterback rating of 77.9.
Not only will this be Smith’s first start as Seattle’s outright QB1, but it comes against the Seahawks’ former franchise quarterback Russell Wilson.
“One thing I would say I took from him is just his professionalism, you know, the way that he approached every single day,” Smith said. “I really appreciated just the time we spent together competing. We competed a bunch. Whether it was in the classroom, weight room, on the field, and I think that made me better.”
Smith and the Seahawks host the Broncos beginning at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.