Seahawks coach Pete Carroll intends to stick with Smith as starter Russell Wilson continues to heal from a finger injury and has been pleased with aspects of Smith's play in his two-plus games of action.
"He's managing the game well. I would like him to get the football out, be more open to throw the ball away," Carroll said Tuesday on his local radio show on 710 ESPN, via ESPN. "We talked about it in the locker room after the game. Sometimes those situations happen so fast, and to make that declaration to give up on the play is something that takes experience."
Smith took over for Wilson during a 26-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5 after Wilson busted a finger on his throwing hand on Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald as he followed through on a delivery. Smith led two late scoring drives to keep the Seahawks close, but an interception -- the result of a receiver falling down on a pass route -- thwarted the comeback.
Since then, Seattle is 0-2 with Smith in a starting role and has plummeted to the bottom of the NFC West at 2-5. The Seahawks play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, after which Wilson would be eligible to come off the injured reserve list. Seattle has a bye week following the Jaguars game, then will hope to have Wilson back for a Week 10 game against the Green Bay Packers.
Seattle's playoff hopes are dwindling fast, but would be all but dashed if Smith can't notch a win over the Jaguars; since 1990, teams that start 3-5 have reached the playoffs at an 8.5 percent rate, but 2-6 teams have reached just once in 117 instances (0.9 percent).
"We have to keep battling because it's so close," Carroll said. "We have to just keep clawing and scratching and we've got to keep building the game around Geno and making sure that he can function at a high level."
Carroll also praised Smith for the way he's protected the ball; he hasn't thrown an interception since the late pick against the Rams, and has lost one fumble in nine-plus quarters of action. However, Carroll also wants to see Smith recognize better when a play is dead, adding that he took "two or three" sacks that should've been throwaways against the Saints.