From the Far Hash: Seneca Wallace Tabbed as Backup QB, Complete with Backlash
Like many sports fans, I get my up to date news off of my Twitter feed. I’m not sure who broke the story first, whether it was @WesHod (of the Green Bay Press-Gazette), @jasonjwilde (of ESPN Milwaukee), @Edwerderespn (of ESPN), or @jsorgi (of WTMJ Milwaukee), but by now I’m guessing most Packers fans have heard that backup quarterback B. J. Coleman has been released and Seneca Wallace has been signed to play behind Aaron Rodgers.
This news should not really be too shocking. Not many Packers fans had a whole lot of confidence in B. J. Coleman running the offense should Aaron Rodgers be forced to come off the field.
However, rather than viewing the signing of Seneca Wallace as a positive thing, the transaction is being greeted with cynicism and vocal backlash.
You could argue that the entire backup quarterback situation was an unmitigated disaster this training camp. Zach Kruse wrote a pretty scathing opinion over at Cheeseheadtv.com.
All of those thoughts may be true. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy did seem to mismanage the backup quarterback position. They did overestimate the abilities of both Graham Harrell and B. J. Coleman. Neither of them could be trusted with the keys to drive the Ferrari offense. So, the Packers had to look elsewhere.
Seneca Wallace is a seasoned veteran, and has starting experience. He’s not the long-term solution as the backup quarterback, but he does offer a veteran presence should someone other than Aaron Rodgers need to play under center.
I completely agree with the skepticism I’m reading about this signing. He’s not the long-term solution. He has waffled with retirement. He wasn’t good enough to be Drew Brees’ backup in New Orleans or Colin Kaepernick’s backup in San Francisco.
So, why he is he suddenly good enough to be Aaron Rodgers’ backup?
That’s a fair question. And the answer may come from an act of desperation by the Packers. Perhaps, they did mismanage their backup situation. They didn’t have any other viable options.
But, before you start claiming that Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson didn’t have plan or vision, consider this. They did have a plan. His name was B. J. Coleman. He was being groomed to be the developmental backup quarterback. It’s long been the plan in Green Bay to draft quarterbacks, develop them, make them backups, and then get trade value from them. Repeat.
Remember Mark Brunnell and Ty Dettmer? Ron Wolf laid down this blueprint down of drafting and developing quarterbacks behind established starters. These guys were understudies of Brett Favre. Brunnell brought the Packers both 3rd and 5th round draft picks.
Both Aaron Brooks and Matt Hasselbeck were being groomed by Mike McCarthy while he was Ray Rhode’s quarterback coach. Both got traded for considerable value. Brooks was worth a third-round pick and Hasselbeck allowed the Packers to swap first round picks, moving from 17th to 10th, while gaining a third-round pick.
Also, let’s not forget fan favorite Matt Flynn. Matt developed into a near-starting quality quarterback. After being developed by McCarthy, Flynn left for Seattle, and then Oakland, with initially being pegged as the pre-training camp starting quarterback. While the Packers received no trade value for Flynn, it does show that the Packers do have a history of developing quarterback talent.
I understand the disbelief and frustration in the Packers nation. But, don’t accuse the Packers of not having a plan. They did have a plan, but it didn’t work out.
Before we totally close the door on the B. J. Coleman project, there is still hope it could work out. It is possible that they bring Coleman back to the practice squad at some point to once again try to develop his talent. He arguably is immensely talented, but is very raw and can’t seem to put it together on the game field. Seneca Wallace might just be a one-year stop gap.
I’m optimistic about the quarterback future. I’m not panicking or doubting the judgement of the brain trust. Hitting on quarterback talent is the hardest thing to do in professional football. How many “can’t miss” prospects were complete busts? More than I can mention in one blog post.
Missing on B. J. Coleman is serious, as is missing on any player in the NFL. Teams cannot afford to miss when they only have 7 rounds in the draft and 53 spots on the roster.
But, when you consider Ty Dettmer, Mark Brunnell, Matt Hasselbeck, Aaron Brooks, and Matt Flynn, the Packers have an excellent track record of developing quarterback talent. I think the single miss on B. J. Coleman can be excused and forgiven.
Oh ya, let’s not forget about the other quarterback, named Aaron Rodgers, who was also drafted and developed by Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.
Featured photo by John Martinez Pavliga (Creative Commons).