Geno Smith to doubters amid his breakout year: I 'know what I can do'

RENTON, Wash. -- Geno Smith has been one of the NFL's biggest surprises of 2022, going from a longtime backup to one of the league's most productive quarterbacks through eight weeks while leading the Seattle Seahawks to a 5-3 start.

On Thursday, Smith pushed back at the notion that his excellent play has come out of nowhere. His comment to that point was part of a response Smith gave while talking about how his self-belief helped him stay focused while spending most of the previous seven seasons as a backup for the New York Jets, New York Giants, Chargers and Seahawks.

"You've got to be on it every single day," Smith said of the focus it takes to play in the NFL. "A lot of people wish they were in this position and I'm grateful to have worked myself into this position. Also, knowing who I am. I'm very set in who I am and know exactly what I can do. So I never bought into the narrative that's been out there.

"I didn't just get this good over the course of one offseason. I think that's mostly narrative and a lot of that stuff is media driven, but when it comes down to me, people where I'm from know who I am. West Virginia, I just got inducted into the [school's] hall of fame, so people in college football know who I am. The New York Jets as well, the Giants, the Chargers and Seattle. So people have continued to let me know that if I just keep working hard that things will happen for you, and that's what I did."

Smith, 32, wasn't even considered the clear favorite to win the Seahawks' offseason quarterback battle after they acquired Drew Lock from the Denver Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade. Yet he ranks fourth in Total QBR at 66.6, which is 23 points higher than his Total QBR in the 46 games he played over his first nine seasons. He leads the league in completion rate (72.7%) and ranks third in touchdown-to-interception ratio at 13-3.

The latest odds from FanDuel Sportsbook give Smith the second-best chance to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year, behind Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

"I think it's just me having a chance to play now," Smith said. "The attention and all that stuff, I'm not really feeling it. I've just been focused on what I'm doing inside this building. But I think it's more so just people seeing me play. I haven't played in a bunch of years aside from preseason, and I think people are now getting a chance to see me play in this type of offense with these types of players and I think it's more so just all of us doing well more than just myself."

After Smith threw two touchdown passes in Seattle's win over the Giants last week, coach Pete Carroll called his quarterback "the real deal."

Smith is only under contract through this season after the Seahawks re-signed him to a one-year, $3.5 million deal that includes another $3.5 million available in incentives. Smith was asked if he thinks about his future beyond 2022.

"I don't really live my life like that," he said. "I'm always focused on what I've got to do today and tomorrow. Those things will come. Time will tell. Time will tell with all that. But for me, I've just got to stay focused on what I'm doing in here and that's working hard and leading this team and going out there and competing to get wins."