Heading into his eighth season with the Seahawks, Tyler Lockett is the team's longest-tenured player, a status that the 29-year-old joked makes him feel old.
And in this eighth season in Seattle, Lockett will be experiencing something different than he did in the previous seven, most notably an open competition at quarterback. In each of Lockett's previous seasons, there was sometimes competition for the backup job, but it was clear that the starter come Week 1 would be Russell Wilson.
Now, with Wilson in Denver, the Seahawks have for the first time since 2012 a wide-open battle for that job with Geno Smith, Wilson's backup for the past three seasons, and Drew Lock, who was part of the trade that sent Wilson to Denver, the two leading candidates.
And while May organized team activities are way, way too soon to make any judgements in the competition, Lockett likes what the competition is bringing out in the players involved.
"It's something that's new, but it's something that's very interesting to see when it comes to that competitive nature—two people, three people being able to compete for a spot," he said. "… It's just that competitive nature that takes you to different places that not having to be competitive doesn't take you. And so I think it's just something that's new, and I think it's something that's very interesting. I love to see it, because sometimes we've got to remember that this is a business, and business does want that competitive nature. And we do want that competitive edge, but being able to compete each and every day, to sharpen iron with iron, I think that helps us build something truly special.
"Drew's doing good, Geno is doing good, (Jacob) Eason is doing good, and whatever happens is going to happen, but as a whole we all want to be able to make sure we're doing our part, and I think everyone's doing it so far."
Smith hasn't been a starter since 2014, his second year in the league, but he has always maintained that he approaches every day as if he were the starter, and in terms of approach Lockett said he has indeed seen the veteran quarterback handle himself the same way. What Lockett has noticed in Smith, however, is a little extra fire that comes with the chance to be a starter for the first time in eight years.
"Being able to have that chance to know that you could come in and be able to run the team, he has that fire in his eyes, he has that look that he wants to be able to go out there and do great," Lockett said. "He hasn't had a chance to be able to play in a couple of years, so when you have that opportunity right there in front of you, what else do you need? ... This is an opportunity that all of us wait for."
Lock, a former second-round pick who was in and out of the starting lineup in three seasons with the Broncos, has also made a strong early impression on Lockett.
"He can throw the ball," Lockett said. "Y'all were out here today, he makes great throws… He just has that type of calmness about himself to where he knows what he can do, he's making the throws regardless of where the DB is. He had a couple of really great deep ball throws last week before we had this break. I think he's adjusting really well. Being able to come to a new team, learning the plays—it's different when you're a receiver learning the plays than when you're a quarterback, when you're a quarterback you're running the plays. So just to be here for what, almost two months, he's done a really great job picking up the plays. We've been installing a lot of heavy stuff, he's been able to pick it up, run with it, and I think he looks really good."