It's Time For Wallace To Show Us What He Can Do
Green Bay Packer fans everywhere are mourning over the loss of their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Not only will he for sure miss at least a couple games, but the original prognosis of a three-week timetable now sounds like it could take up to four or six weeks.
The loss of any quarterback of that caliber for that long would send any fan base into a depression, but the backup situation in Green Bay isn’t helping Cheeseheads cope, either.
Seneca Wallace, the 33-year-old journeyman quarterback, who was out of the league in 2012 and didn’t join the Packers until after training camp this year, is the new man under center. When he surprisingly entered and stayed in the game early Monday night against the Chicago Bears, Packer fans were hoping for another Matt Flynn type of performance from either the loss in New England in 2010 (251 yards, three TDs, one pick, 100.2 QB rating) or the shootout against the Detroit Lions in the 2011 regular season finale (480 yards, six TDs, one pick, 136.4 QB rating).
Needless to say, Wallace’s 114 yards, 0-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 53.4 QB rating didn’t quite live up to expectations. He’s definitely no Matt Flynn. Right? Maybe. But not so fast.
Remember, Wallace entered the game having had the game plan designed for a different quarterback and without getting very many first-team reps in practice. Both of those circumstances will change for his first start in Green Bay this Sunday.
Flynn was in a similar situation to Wallace in 2010. Entering unexpectedly at Detroit because of a concussion to Rodgers, Flynn looked overwhelmed. His stat line read 177 yards, zero touchdowns, one pick and a 62.5 QB rating – not too far off from Wallace’s numbers Monday night. After a week of proper preparation, both in 2010 and 2011, Flynn’s numbers exploded.
And so, Wallace is now taking his turn as the centerpiece of Mike McCarthy’s coaching and game planning. Luckily for him, it’s coming at quite an opportunistic time. His first opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, rank dead last in the league in passing yards allowed per game (307.6). Talk about a good way to boost your confidence early. The next three games bode well for him as well – the New York Giants rank 16th at 242, the Minnesota Vikings are 29th at 291.1 and the Lions are 26th at 272.5. And under the worst possible scenario in which Rodgers misses six games, the Atlanta Falcons rank 19th at 248.6 and the Dallas Cowboys 31st at 305.2.
On top of that, Wallace has something Flynn didn’t – an excellent running game. The Packers rank second in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 148.6. The 2010 and 2011 rankings in that statistic were 24th and 27th, respectively. The newfound attention on Eddie Lacy and the improved offensive line will help suck the safeties in and allow Wallace to unleash the deep ball, which may be his greatest strength.
So while Wallace probably is no Matt Flynn, he’s still got a chance to put up some decent numbers. Will it be enough to keep the Packers alive in the playoff race? There’s no way to know for sure, but I say it depends on the length of Rodgers’ injury. Three games is doable. Six is not.
Unless I’m wrong, which seems to happen a lot. Wallace might turn out to be another awesome backup, but he’s got to prove it starting this Sunday. If he still can’t run an offense effectively after a full week of preparation with a terrific running game and against the worst passing defense in the league, I’d say Green Bay’s playoff chances are pretty much dead.