Packers XLV

Life Without Rodgers: Let's Make it Short and Sweet

Posted November 6th, 2013 @ 04:11pm

It's remarkable really. To think that the Packers have not had to replace their starting QB for multiple weeks since Brett Favre stepped in for the Majik man in week three of  '92. 21 seasons of quarterback health: it's more than any football fan should ever hope for, let alone expect.

And so it ends with a broken collarbone for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers face the prospect of hoping Seneca Wallace is ready to step in and lead the offense. Notice I didn't say 'manage' the offense. That's what we'll be hearing all week: that Wallace just needs to be a game manager and not lose the game.

I disagree and so would Mike McCarthy. Wallace is 32, a veteran with 21 starts under his belt and one who has run versions of this offense in the past. The idea of moving past the likes of Harrell and Coleman and bringing in guys like Vince Young and Wallace was to provide some experience to the backup spot. A guy who had the tools to run the offense as if Rodgers was under center. Of course, had Ted Thompson listened to me and signed Matt Hasselbeck in the offseason we wouldn't be having this conversation. But let's move on...

McCarthy will build his offensive game plan based on Wallace's strengths. Those weren't on display on Monday night when he was thrust into action. A week of solid preparation, particularly third down situations and the two minute offense will certainly help. So will throwing lots of balls to his receivers.

I think it's safe to say we won't see the hurry up offense until Rodgers returns, especially this week against the Eagles' high octane Usain Bolt-style fast break offense. The Pack will be content to shoot for time consuming drives to give its stretched-thin linebackers time to catch their breath.

Now let's talk about the timetable for Rodgers' return. We have no idea. I don't think Rodgers or the Packers have a real handle on it yet. It was encouraging to hear McCarthy say on Tuesday that they felt better about the injury a day later than they did the night it happened. It sounds like he will miss a minimum of three games, with the Thanksgiving Day game the wildcard.

Best case scenario: Packers win two of the next three to put them at 7-4 when they head to Detroit. At worst, they'd be one game back of Detroit (but that's unlikely since the Lions have road tests in Chicago and Pittsburgh) and may be tempted to sit Rodgers one more week, to give him ten additional days to heal before the four game December run. A healthy Rodgers would give the Pack a chance to run the table in December. If they do that and lose without him in Detroit, that would put them at 11-5 and in the playoffs for sure. Even a 3-1 final month would likely secure them a spot.

But if the Packers flop in the next three and lose two or all of them (yes, it could happen unless the defense reverts to what we saw in the three games before Monday night), then they might feel compelled to bring back Rodgers for the Lions game, knowing that their margin for error had effectively evaporated.

Wallace gets his close up this Sunday and the schedule has done him a favor. The Eagles rank dead last defensively in yards against and 27th in points against. The next two foes, the Giants and Vikings aren't much better, but all three are middle of the pack against the run, meaning they really struggle against good passing attacks. Seneca, are you listening?

Are you ready?



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Comments (7):

I'm more pessimistic about the situation. I look at Wallace as a 32 yr old, that has never been starting caliber, and has started based on some athleticisim which he does not seem to have anymore. When the Packers realized this was going to be muliple week injury, they should have gone out and secured a better quarterback, like Matt Flynn IMO, but there are better options out there. I actually would rather see Tolzien get a shot, if Wallace struggles again. Everytime Wallace threw I was thinking "please not an interception", he really looked rusty, and posed no pass threat. It's kind of hard to establish that run game, when the defense can play run first, and not worry about pass execution

on November 6th, 2013 at 01:13pm

No matter how it gets sliced for this week, Wallace is the guy, like it or not. He was signed as the backup because he was a better option than Harrell, Coleman, and Young. Hasselbeck wouldn't have come here having been a starter and taking a backup's salary (granted I don't know that for sure, but it makes sense), and ask yourself why did Buffalo throw a rookie out there last week and looked completely lost when they had Flynn available, then cut him the next day? They didn't want him, Seattle didn't want him, even Oakland didn't want him. Now I'm sure he's a nice guy and everything, but since he set a yardage record for the Pack in a meaningless game 2 years ago, we're all in love with the notion he can do it again because he's done it for us once before. Well, if he was so darn good, why did all these other teams cut him? I'm not being pessimistic on the guy, I'm just trying to keep it real. If he clears waivers and wants to come for a tryout so the coaches can see what he has left, fine. If he lights it up in practice, more power to him. If not, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Until then, consider Wallace to be the guy going forward until Rodgers gets back. And another thing to consider...good FA QB's aren't out walking the streets in November. If TT finds one we're not aware of, then he's better than any of us ever imagined. The Pack will get through this - none of us wanted this scenario, but there's nothing we (as fans) can do about it. TT and MM will figure this out; after all, that's why they get paid the big bucks, right? So everyone take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Feel better?

on November 6th, 2013 at 05:28pm

I think with a week of prep with McCarthy and the offense Seneca will do fine. Just don't turn the ball over and ride lacy and Starks to the promise land. These next 3 games are all winnable, with or without Rodgers. And with clay possibly a go on Sunday, the defense should step up. Tackling tackling tackling. And I still say shields is a pro bowl corner. Put him on Jackson and bottle up McCoy and were golden! 24-20 packers

on November 6th, 2013 at 11:10am

Talk about your expert second-guessers and arm chair gm's. The criticism going around about the Packers not having a seemingly better back-up situation is nonsense. Do you know who comes in if Drew Brees goes down in New Orleans? Try Luke McCown or rookie Ryan Griffin. Next man up in New England is Ryan Mallett. Behind Peyton Manning Denver has Brock Osweiler and rookie Zac Dysart. Think of Tarvaris Jackson or another rookie B.J. Daniels taking the field in Seattle after Russell Wilson. Who's next on the 49ers if Kaepernick falls? Colt McCoy and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Teams with elite quarterbacks in today's NFL can't afford or attract better quality back-ups like they used to. Any one who's any good doesn't want to go where they have no chance to start and little chance to play. If a team can interchange qb's without significant change to their team's performance it usually means they don't have a good or great starter there in the first place. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have done the best they could to solidify the back-up to a superstar starter and nothing different from other contenders. The Packers just had the bad luck to need a back-up; something that hasn't happened with this franchise in over 20 years.

on November 7th, 2013 at 06:01am

No, Larry, I wasn't thinking of you or any one in particular as a second guesser. It was more in response to the media carrying on about it. But since you mentioned it; the Packers did draft B.J. Coleman two years ago and signed Graham Harrell and gave him 3 years to develop so what you've been advocating has been done. The guys just didn't pan out. It probably would have been better both for the Pack and Matt Flynn if he had contented himself with being a good back-up and stayed in Green Bay. He certainly hasn't had a good career anywhere else as a starter. Seneca Wallace actually does fit the bill for what many hoped for as a Packers back-up. A guy with significant NFL experience, who would be content with a back-up role but capable of coming in in an emergency. Well, the emergency is here and now we'll see how well he fits the rest of the bill.

on November 7th, 2013 at 06:03pm

Looks like some of you may get you wish. Apparently Flynn passed through waivers (which basically means nobody initially wanted him, including the Pack), but the Packers are willing to work him out to see what he has. There's also word that he may have an injury to his throwing arm, so the plot thickens. (BTW, I'm off to Lambeau this weekend - I'm in the north end zone seats, so I'll wave to everyone back here!)

on November 7th, 2013 at 07:54pm

midwest guy, I'm with u on shields i have been saying that for 2 years now, also, packerlifer, i normally agree with alot u say, but i hope your not saying i'm a 2nd guesser, i have said for the last 2 drafts they need to pick up a qb in the 4th or 5th rd. then u develope them. look at cousins, in wash, foles in philly, i will take my chances with osweiller, and mallet, i hope wallace proves me wrong, but i think u are all forgetting something. we are running the ball this year because 12 is in there and they all played cover 2. now the safeties will be in the box and hope wallace can beat them throwing. we will see how we do against one of the worst d's in the nfl sunday, i am just saying a team can only lose so many men, and expect to say in the hunt, plus, 12 won't be back until after the lions game to have that extra 10 days of rest. and it may 2 weeks for him to get in sinc again, i see it as 8-8. i thought they would win 10 before the season started, bears 9-7 lions 8-8 and queens 7-9. so we will see, please prove me wrong packers. 31-20 they lose sunday

on November 7th, 2013 at 12:36pm

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