The future for the Packers at backup quarterback


Nov 4, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks with quarterback Seneca Wallace (9) during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was rough for the Green Bay Packers with the loss to the Chicago Bears not being the worst part of last night.

Of course, the worst part of last night was the fact that Aaron Rodgers injured his non-throwing shoulder and collarbone last night with Mike McCarthy unsure how long Rodgers will be out.

ESPN has been reporting this morning that Aaron Rodgers could be out for the next three weeks which isn’t as bad as it could have been. Seneca Wallace came in last night and struggled a lot as the Packers’ passing game just wasn’t productive while Chicago’s backup QB Josh McCown had a very solid performance.

Wallace hasn’t had any first team reps in practice all season but now Wallace will get that opportunity. However, it is still up in the air as to whether Wallace will be the backup quarterback the rest of this season, let alone beyond it. So, who could be the guys that are the long-term backup QB?

Seneca Wallace is the obvious first candidate being that he is already on the roster and that he has had some solid performances in the past. Wallace also knows the system somewhat now that he has been with the Packers since the beginning of the season and with a full week of first team reps, Wallace should play better Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Wallace does have some mobility also so that is a boost but Wallace might not be the long term solution at backup quarterback. Wallace could have a couple of games to prove that though depending on how long Aaron Rodgers is out.

If Wallace isn’t the answer, the next in-house answer could be practice squad and former Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien. Tolzien was not a great quarterback in college but Tolzien was a solid QB that knew how to avoid mistakes. Tolzien might not be ready for the NFL-level competition but with the quality of receivers Green Bay has, Tolzien might be able to make the transition while relying on the running game. Tolzien is not likely to still play at all for the Packers but he is definitely a possibility.

Oct 27, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Flynn (17) prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If the Packers go and sign a free agent, the top man on that list is likely to be former Green Bay QB Matt Flynn.

Flynn hasn’t had much success since leaving the Packers but Flynn will have some familiarity with the system that allowed him to get a chance to start elsewhere in the league. Flynn had the big performance in 2011 against Detroit but Flynn also filled in for Rodgers in 2010 for two games when Rodgers had a concussion.

Flynn struggled when he came in against Detroit just like Wallace did against Chicago but Flynn had a solid performance against New England the following week and almost led the Packers to a surprise win at Gillette Stadium. Flynn could be the best answer at QB and Ted Thompson will have to consider the possibility.

The real long-term answer for next season and beyond will be to draft a quarterback as early as the third round to be the backup.

LSU QB Zach Mettenberger has a great arm and has shown in Baton Rouge the potential to be a quality NFL quarterback. Metteneberger has the potential to slide into the third round and Green Bay would be wise to take him at that point.

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd is another possibility who should be available in the third or fourth round. Boyd doesn’t have prototypical size but Boyd has a strong arm and knows how to make plays outside the pocket. The third option who is clearly looking like a day 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is Fresno State QB Derek Carr.

Derek Carr is the younger brother of former number 1 overall pick David Carr and Derek has shown some potential to be a quality backup QB immediately even though he doesn’t have the most potential.

No matter what, the Packers are almost certainly going to have to draft a young backup QB in the 2014 NFL Draft to have the best long term solution at backup quarterback.