Seneca Wallace To Play Wide Receiver: Could Charlie Frye It Up?

Bill DowSenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2008

Going into his final season in the NFL, Mike Holmgren’s told the media that he would move away from his almost Marty Schottenheimer-like conservativeness that had hallmarked his career—noting that reverse passes and other trick plays might become more used in the Seahawks’ offensive system.

This also leaves the door open to what fans have been calling for since the 2005 NFC Championship win against Carolina in which backup quarterback Seneca Wallace was used as a wide receiver and hauled an over-the-shoulder 28 yard pass to put the team in enemy territory: the use of the most athletic Seahawk at wide receiver.

In the past, coach Mike Holmgren has been hesitant to use Wallace as a wide receiver because of the team’s lack of talent at quarterback. The problem: if both Seneca Wallace and Matt Hasselbeck were to become hurt, who would lead the team to a win? In 2005 the Seahawks thought the answer was NCAA record-holder David Greene from Georgia, but he disappointed so much in the 2007 preseason that he was released and Charlie Frye was acquired.

Recently in both camp and the annual scrimmage, Holmgren has displayed a desire to see what Charlie Frye has to offer the team by giving him more reps than any other quarterback.

This move can be interpreted in two ways. One, Seahawks fans can believe that Holmgren is simply trying to avoid a fiasco like David Greene by working his quarterback out many times more than the Pro Bowler and proven backup. Or, Seahawk fans can look a little deeper into it and realize that Charlie Frye’s playing time is ultimately making Holmgren ask: can this guy back up Hasselbeck should he become hurt? Thus, opening Seneca Wallace to receiving duties.

It may seem a little far-fetched as Holmgren has stated how much confidence he has in Seneca Wallace. But in fact, Wallace has a career passer rating of 78.9, and was 2-2 in his four starts in 2006, beating the 2-14 Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football at home and the Rams at home with the help of a Josh Brown game-winning field goal. Even Holmgren could admit that he hasn’t been perfect.

Then why shouldn’t the backup position be open to Charlie Frye? He has won out at camp against two very-talented quarterbacks, Brady Quinn and Pro Bowler Derek Anderson, and the one game he lost in 2007 came against a healthy 11-5 Pittsburgh Steelers. His passer rating is only slightly lower than Wallace’s at 72.3, but he wasn’t playing with a team one-year removed from the Super Bowl.

Holmgren hasn’t said anything publicly about the time Frye is being given behind center this year, but he has previously said that Seneca Wallace has the athleticism to possibly beat out some wide receivers on the team.

Deion Branch is out with a knee injury for the first part of the year, giving Holmgren the perfect excuse to let Seneca bear his Seahawk wings. And for his final year: why wouldn’t he?