Seneca Wallace, your starting quarterback.
For this week, at least.
With the Packers moving Scott Tolzien up from the practice squad on Wednesday, they will enter Sunday’s home match up with the Eagles with Wallace as the starter and Tolzien as the backup.
Tolzien might be more familiar to Wisconsin fans after he won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as a Badger in 2010, where as Seneca Wallace – despite being a 10 year veteran, is relatively new to Packer fans.
Wallace faced the Packers once in his career. In the 2005 season finale game, Wallace relieved Matt Hasselback when Seattle chose to rest its starters in the second half.
On New Year’s Day 2006, Wallace completed just over half of his 17 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown and one interception.
95 months after his first throw at Lambeau, Wallace put up relatively similar numbers when he came in for an injured Aaron Rodgers. On Monday night, Wallace completed 11 of his 19 passes for 114 yards. A slightly higher completion percentage and a slightly lower passer rating, Wallace’s performance left many fans wondering who is this quarterback and do the Packers stand a chance with him?
Seneca Wallace is a backup quarterback. In his 10 year career, he has never started a week one game for an NFL team, yet this will be the six year of his career that he will see major playing time coming in to replace an injured starting quarterback.
In 2006, Wallace replaced then injured Hasselbeck in week 7 and started for the Seahawks for the following 4 games. In his four starts, the team went 2 – 2 and when Hasselbeck returned from his knee injury in week 12, the Seahawks won their division, rested their starters in the season finale and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Pretty sure the Packers would take those four games from 2006 and winning the division this year if they could get that from Wallace.
In his 4 starts in 2006, Wallace completed 67 of his 114 passes with a completion percentage of 58.8%. He threw for eight touchdowns and five interceptions. His average passer rating from those games was 87, with a high of 114.6 and a low of 69. In those games he threw for 787 yards for a 196 yard per game average.
In three of these four games, the Seahawks were also without their star running back, Shaun Alexander, and in the four games they only averaged 73 yards on the ground. Seattle’s offense was dependent on Wallace.
That is a far cry from the 148 yards per game that the Packers are averaging now. The Packers offense will provide more help to Wallace than Seattle did in 2006.
But 2006 was also a long time ago. How has Wallace faired since then?
Seattle called on Wallace a lot in 2008 with Hasselbeck missing time with two separate injuries. Wallace started half of the games, weeks 7 through 10 and weeks 14 through 17. 2008 was a rough season for the Seahawks. They finished the season with a 4 – 12 record and third in their division.
Wallace’s stats in his games in 2008, were nearly identical to his from 2006. 138 completions on 236 throws for 1512 total yards and an average completion percentage of 58.5 and an average passer rating of 89.5. The team only won three of the 8 games that Wallace started, but with the 19th ranked rushing offense and a defense that gave up the third most yards per game in the NFL, Wallace wasn’t receiving a lot of help from his team.
A telling stat from 2008 was Wallace’s touchdown to interception ratio. After being rather careless with the ball in 2006 with 2 multiple interception games, Wallace threw 11 touchdowns in 2008 and only 3 interceptions.
In 2009, Hasselbeck cracked his ribs in week 2. Wallace finished the game and started the following two.
Wallace’s completion percentage was slightly higher in 2009 at 66.3, and he was throwing the ball a lot. In his two games, Wallace threw the ball 89 times for 518 yards with an average passer rating of 84.25.
In 2010, Wallace went to Cleveland and was reunited with coach Mike Holmgren. Listed as the backup, Wallace was called into duty in week two after starter Jake Delhomme injured his ankle in the season opener.
Wallace played the following four games before he sustained an injury as well.
In those four starts, Wallace completed 63% of his passes for 693 yards and an average rating of 93. He threw 4 touchdowns and two interceptions. The Browns went 1 – 3 during this stretch.
In 2011, Wallace finished out the season for the Browns in place of Clot McCoy, starting the final three games, all losses. These were Wallace’s roughest games. He completed only 50% of his passes for 183 yards a game, with an average rating of 66.7. In three games he threw 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Prior to last week, Wallace had not thrown a regular season pass since the 2011 season finale.
Throughout his career, Wallace has been relatively consistent. He’s not the star, but he’s not the worst. He’s been the guy you call on when your starter is out a couple games, not the guy to unseat a starter.
He averages about 60% completion rate and tends to play better games when he has a stronger supporting cast. He throws more touchdowns than interceptions but isn’t as mobile and quick as he used to be.
The 2013 Green Bay Packers are not the 2011 Browns and they are not the 2008 Seattle Seahawks. But they are a team that is currently fielding lesser known wide receiver names and has a defense coming off a rough outing against the Bears.
If the Packers stick with Wallace, as they appear to be planning to do, they will need the rest of the team to step up.
James Starks and Eddie Lacy will have to carry the team and keep Wallace in a game manager role. James Jones and Jordy Nelson will have to stay healthy and help Wallace make plays. Wallace’s better games came when throwing to Deion Branch and Nate Burleson as opposed to Brian Robiskie and Jordan Norwood. The Packers defense needs to keep getting healthy and tighten up; its mistake free football time.
Jayme Snowden is a feature writer at CheeseheadTV and a contributor to Today’s TMJ4. She also co-hosts CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at Packertalk.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.