Drew Lock was running with the Seattle Seahawks No. 1s at Tuesday's practice and was slated to start his team's second preseason game Thursday against the visiting Chicago Bears, but the team announced Tuesday afternoon that Lock has tested positive for COVID-19 and is out for the game.
Lock, who is immersed in a quarterback competition with Geno Smith, must now quarantine for five days before he can return to the team.
It's unfortunate timing for Lock, who on Tuesday was getting his first chance to practice with the Seahawks' starters. Prior to the announcement about Lock's positive test, Carroll stated that Lock getting time with the first-teamers was part of the plan and that Smith remained the team's "No. 1 guy." Now, Smith will get another preseason start and will get back to working with the ones in practice earlier than expected.
Smith has been practicing throughout the summer with the No. 1 offense and started his team's preseason opener against the Steelers. Lock being scheduled to start the second preseason game was predetermined, Carroll said.
"We had planned, well, back before the offseason even started, to get to this game, second game, and Geno would be the starter in Lumen in the opening game, and we would go with Drew in the second game," Carroll told reporters on Tuesday. "So we're trying to follow that if we can."
Carroll did not make any declarations as it relates to the regular season, but he underscored that Smith was still leading the way.
"I don't even have to say that, Geno's still our No. 1 guy," Carroll said. "He's holding on to his spot at this point. So, I really like what Drew has shown us, and you look at his passer rating and some of the stuff he did, he did a great job, so both of our guys can play. That's what we do know, they both can play."
Leading into the Steelers game, reports surrounding the Seahawks' QB competition were that Lock was looking better overall. Against Pittsburgh, both QBs did well enough, but it was Lock who had a pair of touchdown passes and by most accounts looked crisper.
Nevertheless, Carroll was as balanced with his praise Tuesday as it would seem he's attempting to be with reps.
"They both did well, they both played well," Carroll said. "Geno should have been 10 for 10, you know with two drops and the ball on the sidelines should have been a completed pass, too. So he did everything we asked him to and had a heckuva two-minute drive, took care of the ball and ran a little bit, so he did good. Drew came right out and took us right down the field, and did well and popped the ball around and converted some third downs and he did good stuff. So that's what's been happening, they kind of continue to add to the work resume, and we're just trying to figure it out in time. We're pleased with both guys so far."
In the 32-25 loss to the Steelers, Smith finished his start having gone 10 of 15 for 101 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions and rushed twice for nine yards and a score. Lock followed with an 11-of-15 night passing with 102 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
"This is part of the plan," Carroll said. "Regardless of what happened, we were going to give Drew a chance to start a game and just see what happens. Fortunately he's played really well and he deserves a shot to play, just like everybody deserves a shot to play and show what they can do. So, we've been able to stick to it. If you remember way back when we did this last time, when we were picking quarterbacks, we had three guys we were going through, they were rotating with the ones, and did that with the games as well, so some of the same format. Geno deserved more than that, he deserved a starting opportunity, so that's how we came to settle on it."
While Lock working with the 'A' team was just Carroll's plan coming together, the QB room now joins the Seahawks' running backs corps in terms of having unplanned concerns.
With veteran Chris Carson having been forced to retire due to a neck injury, the focus has been on former first-round pick Rashaad Penny and rookie second-rounder Kenneth Walker. On the positive side, Penny was back at full practice Tuesday and a full-go after dealing with a groin injury, but Walker was not practicing due to a hernia issue.
"Yeah, Ken's got a little hernia thing that he's working on, and we have to get through that," Carroll said. "So I don't know what to tell you yet, but it's something that we can attend to and all that, and we just have to make sure that he's OK by the opener, that's what we're shooting for."
The Seahawks' QB battle is waging on, but Lock's positive test has certainly interrupted Carroll's best laid plans just as another pressing concern has emanated from Seattle's offensive backfield with Walker.