You have to give the Green Bay Packers some credit this preseason. They have certainly owned up to the fact that the backup quarterback position on their team was not good. The recent moves by the Packers illustrate that point emphatically.
Seneca Wallace is now the main backup quarterback to Mr. Franchise Aaron Rodgers. I see the move as a very good fit. General manager Ted Thompson should know. It was he who drafted Wallace in 2003, when he ran the front office for the Seattle Seahawks while Mike Holmgren was head coach.
Wallace has been a productive backup quarterback in the past, is pretty familiar with the offense the Packers run, plus he still has decent mobility.
You also have to credit Eliot Wolf and his staff in the pro personnel department, as the Packers had to find the right mix at backup quarterback when the Packers first released Graham Harrell, then also released veteran Vince Young, whom the team had signed on August 5.
That meant when the final 53-man roster was announced on Saturday, Rodgers and B.J. Coleman were the only two quarterbacks listed on the team.
Wolf and his department quickly found a player who Thompson was also familiar with. That would be quarterback Scott Tolzien, the former Wisconsin Badger who was recently released by the San Francisco 49ers after being with them for two years.
As he always does year after year in Madison, Thompson had a firsthand view of Tolzien at the Wisconsin pro day in 2011, before the NFL draft.
The team signed Tolzien to the practice squad, where he will be given an opportunity to show his growth as he learns the offensive system of the team. Tolzien can also share some very important information about the tendencies and nuances regarding the 49er offense, because he is so familiar with it.
After the news on Tolzien surfaced, the big shoe dropped yesterday, when the team announced the signing of Wallace, which also led to the release of Coleman.
Wallace is a savvy 11-year veteran who has backed up most of his career but has also started 21 games.
Overall, Wallace has thrown 31 touchdown passes compared to 18 interceptions for 4,808 yards.
In terms of his mobility, Wallace has rushed for 293 yards (4.3 average) and has also caught six passes for 106 yards.
Bottom line, although Mike McCarthy and company have done an excellent job of coaching quarterbacks in Green Bay (Brett Favre, Rodgers and Matt Flynn), the same did not happen with Harrell and Coleman.
The Packers gave Harrell plenty of time to develop, as he had been in the Green Bay system since 2010. It just didn't happen.
The poster child of that situation was the regular-season game last year at Lambeau Field versus the New Orleans Saints, when Rodgers was poked in the eye just as the Packers were right at the doorstop of the goal line of the Saints. Harrell came in to relieve Rodgers, and he promptly tripped and fell while handing the ball off to running back Cedric Benson and fumbled.
The result? The Saints recovered the fumble and scored the go-ahead touchdown on the ensuing drive. Luckily, and fortunately, Rodgers was able to return to the game, and the Packers came back and won, 28-27.
When Harrell didn't show the Packers much this training camp and in preseason games, the Packers decided they had to make a move. That is when they signed Young in early August. But the late signing date never gave Young much of a chance to succeed.
The signing of Wallace yesterday is also late, but he at least knows the offense of the Packers in some form, as he has pretty much played in similar offenses in Seattle and Cleveland. Wallace also spent some time in training camp this year with the 49ers, but like Tolzien, he was released.
Wallace can also provide some help on the scout team offense, as he can help to imitate quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III, whom the Packers will see the first two weeks of the 2013 NFL season.
Rodgers being backed up by Wallace reminds me of the Vince Lombardi era with the Packers, when Bart Starr was being backed up by Zeke Bratkowski.
Zeke wasn't as good as Bart, but he was able to play in small stretches as a replacement, and believe it or not...he actually won some games. Some big games.
That's what the Packers want to see from Wallace. Someone who can hold the fort down and be productive. Someone who can make a play or two when needed. Someone who can be a coach on the sidelines.
Like everything else, time will tell how Wallace will do in Green Bay. But I for one believe the move is a good fit for the team.
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