The latest reports out of Green Bay indicate that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to be sidelined for a couple weeks. Rodgers himself confirmed his collarbone is fractured. With Rodgers out, Seneca Wallace is likely the next man up at quarterback. The second string quarterback was forced to take over for Rodgers early in the Packers loss to the Bears on Monday night. Wallace would finish the night 11/19, 114 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT.
The Eagles caught a major break here, no pun intended. You might say the drop off from Rodgers to Wallace is... substantial. Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks around. Wallace is a journeyman backup who owns a 6-15 record as a starter. In 64 games (21 starts), his career numbers feature 31 TD to 19 INT, 77 passing yards per game, and a 80.6 QB rating. He also has rushed for 293 yards on 68 attempts.
Before joining the Packers, Wallace was mostly recently employed by the Cleveland Browns. Eagles offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, and defensive coordinator, Bill Davis, are former Browns coaches that are familiar with Wallace from their shared time in Cleveland. Davis noted how the Packers offense looked schematically different when Seneca played on Monday night.
"With Aaron Rodgers, it's really three wides and one back. I don't know if it was the plan against Chicago, but Seneca [Wallace] went in, there was more of a two-back run feel to it. Still running the same offense. It's a high-efficiency offense. And I know Seneca from being in Cleveland last year. He's [from] a Coach [Mike] Holmgren raised West Coast offense, so is [Green Bay head coach] Mike McCarthy. It's a high-efficiency offense that's really built for a quarterback to quickly distribute the ball. And they didn't come too far off of that and I think they'll stay with that type of plan with Seneca."
Even without Rodgers, and despite injuries to players like Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, the Packers still have talent on their offense. Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and rookie running back Eddie Lacy are a few names Davis specifically mentioned. Wallace can't provide the stellar play-making ability Rodgers provides, but Green Bay's hope is he can execute as a game manager.
One of Wallace's strengths is his mobility. The Eagles are coming off a victory against a team with a dangerous mobile quarterback in Terrelle Pryor. Philadelphia was able to generate pressure on Pryor while still keeping him relatively contained. Wallace isn't nearly the threat Pryor is, but he can still move.
"[Wallace] is a great move quarterback, the boots, the sprints. He's a very athletic guy. So he really knows how to run that offense and we've got to make sure that no quarterback sits comfortably in a pocket, but that's obviously the first goal of defense. Knowing that Seneca can get out of that pocket and has great escapeability, the back half of the coverage has to cover longer, and that's what we talked about a week ago, when we were playing Oakland, the count in your head as a coverage player goes a lot longer when you play the mobile quarterback that can get out and you get on an edge. Now instead of covering for three seconds, you're covering for five, six, possibly seven. There's a big difference in the mobile quarterback for us."
Not having to face Rodgers is a great opportunity for the Eagles, but the Packers won't just roll over with Wallace at quarterback. At 5-3 they still have a lot to play for. It's up to the Eagles and their improved defense to take care of business on the road.
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