Should the Packers consider starting a former Wisconsin quarterback?
When quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit the ground, Green Bay Packers fans hit their heads against the wall. When he limped off the field clearly in pain, Packers fans limped to bed after a 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears.
In the simplest of terms, Rodgers was the lifeblood of the Packers. Unfortunately, Green Bay now needs to figure out how to win without him for at least three weeks according to ESPN's Adam Schefter (via Will Brinson of CBSSports.com).
With Rodgers injured, the Packers were forced to turn to backup quarterback Seneca Wallace against Chicago. We all know how poorly that ended.
So, the Packers promoted a quarterback familiar to the state of Wisconsin:
The #Packers are promoting QB Scott Tolzien to the 53-man roster, per source. Just gave him a raise on practice squad last week.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 5, 2013
While Scott Tolzien has yet to play a single regular-season snap in his career, bringing him up to the 53-man roster certainly brings about a handful of questions.
Was he only signed to backup Wallace until Rodgers returns? Or should the Packers legitimately consider starting Tolzien over Wallace?
Let's take an in-depth look at this second question.
The Poor Play of Wallace
Over the course of Wallace's career, which started back in 2003 with the Seattle Seahawks, Wallace has started 21 games and played in a total of 63 games. His career record as a starter in an unimpressive 6-15.
Here's a look at his statistics in those games:
While those numbers don't look terrible, the majority of his production came early in his career. Wallace is now 33 years old, and as we saw Monday night, he's far from the player he once was.
He finished the game against the Bears completing only 11 passes for 114 yards and an interception. Wallace was also sacked four times in the loss.
Furthermore, Wallace's arm didn't look nearly strong enough to succeed in the NFL. One of his first passes was a simply comeback route where he floated the ball to his target. That's a throw that a quarterback needs to zip in there or the rate for an interception soars.
Overall, Wallace is nothing more than a backup quarterback at this point in his career. Keeping him as the starter for the rest of Rodgers' injury would be a major mistake on the part of the Packers.
Tolzien's Skill Set
Coming out of college, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net had this to say about Tolzien:
Productive college quarterback who is best in a timing offense. Patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers, and displays field awareness. Finds the open target, goes to check down receivers if nothing is available downfield, and makes good decisions. Relatively accurate and puts the ball in front of receivers, allowing them to run to the pass. Shows a lot of moxie in his game and does the little things well, making positive plays.
He went on to say:
Tolzien has been a solid college quarterback the past two years and is a game manager for the next level who could make it as a clipboard holder in a West Coast offense.
The difference between Tolzien and Wallace is in the ability to be a game-managing quarterback. Tolzien's got a strong enough arm to go along with the good ball placement. His ability to hit receivers in stride is ideal in an offense that features a weapon like wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
As long as Tolzien's skills haven't digressed, and there is no reason to believe that they have, he's a more talented quarterback than Wallace.
Should Tolzien Start?
Should Scott Tolzien start at quarterback for the Packers?
This is a tricky question because Tolzien was just promoted to the 53-man roster. So, the correct answer is that Tolzien shouldn't start this week against the Philadelphia Eagles but should start the remainder of the games after Week 10.
The Packers need a quarterback who can push the ball down the field and hit receivers in stride. It'd also be ideal to have a quarterback who can move outside of the pocket and limit mistakes.
Wallace, unfortunately, cannot do that for the Packers. As of right now, the only signal-caller on the roster who can do those things is Tolzien, which is exactly why he should start while Rodgers heals.