Geno Smith went through a pregame workout Sunday at Levi's Stadium hoping to convince team physicians and athletic trainers that he could play.
Ultimately, the decision was made to keep Smith sidelined for the Seahawks' Week 14 game against the 49ers, the result of a groin injury suffered in practice last Thursday. Smith is back on the practice field this week, and while neither he nor Seahawks coach Pete Carroll knows for sure yet if he'll be ready to go on Monday night, Smith is improving and hopeful that he can play when the Seahawks host the Eagles.
"I'm getting better every single day, been working around the clock just to try and get my body as healthy as possible to go out there and being able to play," Smith said.
Asked directly if he's playing Monday, Smith said, "We'll see."
Smith injured his groin in practice last week and was listed as questionable for last weekend's game, but despite his best efforts, the decision to play or not was taken out of his hands in order to protect him from potential further injury.
"I'm always going to push to play," Smith said. "You have to trust and rely on the doctors, and they felt that I wasn't going to be able to be my best self, and so they held me back. I was going to push it and give it all I've got. It's kind of how I'm wired. I'm going to go until they tell me I can't."
A week removed from the injury, Smith said he is "just feeling better. Just feeling better in that area, and pretty much my entire body is a work in progress. Moreso than Sunday, I'm able to be a little bit more mobile than I was on Sunday."
While Smith obviously would have preferred to be playing, he did like seeing Drew Lock get a chance to make his first start as a Seahawk, a performance that included a pair of touchdown passes and 269 passing yards, as well as two interceptions, against one of the NFL's top defenses.
"I always believe Drew is going to do great things," Smith said. "I think he has the ability, I think he works extremely hard, I think he deserves his opportunity when it comes, and I was happy to see him go out there and make some really nice plays. I know that he feels like he can do some things better, but that's all of us and that's every game. I was just happy to see him out there having fun. I thought he did a great job."
Lock, meanwhile, is spending his week preparing both for being Smith's backup and also the possibility of starting, which isn't too different from the usual role of a backup quarterback, with the big exception being that he is getting some reps with the starting offense, as Smith has been limited in practice on Thursday and Friday.
"You've got to go back to all the weeks you've logged as the backup, what your schedule is, how you feel like you're most prepared going into this game, and really attack it like you're the backup this week," he said. "That's been my mentality going forward, but I'm also really ready to play. I like to think I'm ready to go in and play every game, no matter what the situation is, so that's why I go back to, how am I going to get ready as a backup today, because that's probably how it'll start, but we'll see."
As for his performance against the 49ers, Lock said there was, "good and bad, lot of good though. Lot of good."
The most obvious thing Lock would have liked to clean up was the interception he threw trying to hit DK Metcalf down the sideline, a throw he said should have been further outside to the sideline where only Metcalf could have made a play on it, but that instead drifted too far inside where a safety could make a play on the ball. Lock's other interception came late in the game on fourth-and-long, and was the result of 49ers defensive end Chase Young hitting the ball as it left Lock's hand, so that one was more the result of circumstances than it was a bad decision or inaccurate throw, and for the most part the rest of the game showed Lock can hold his own against a very good defense.
"After a long period of time of not necessarily playing, you want to go out there and prove it to yourself again," Lock said. "You want to prove it to the guys around you and to yourself, and being able to go out there and do and feel the good things that can come from me playing, and being able to learn still. That's the thing you really miss when you're not playing is, how are you making strides forward."
Lock's coaches and teammates have expressed their confidence in him both before and after his start, and Lock said his play Sunday, "gave confidence to the guys that if I get into the game, we can go win football games, we can get things done against good defenses, and I'll let the future lay in the hands of the guys who make those decisions."
Seahawks practice outside the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. on Dec. 15, 2023.