The Green Bay Packers (5-3) not only suffered their first loss against the Chicago Bears (5-3) since the 2010 NFL season on Monday Night Football, but the loss ended their four-game winning streak and resulted in the short-term loss of their face of the franchise.
Leading into their Monday Night game, the Packers looked like they were on their way to a third-consecutive NFC North division title, but now their journey and path to the playoffs looks to be a little more rocky after one major setback.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers left Monday’s game shortly after he was sacked by Bears’ outside linebacker Shea McClellin at the end of the first drive of the night. Rodgers was diagnosed with a shoulder injury, but reports have now spread that Rodgers has a small fracture in his collarbone and he could be out for up to three weeks.
Fortunately, Rodgers’ injury is short-term and not season-ending. Unfortunately, though, the Packers are now very shaky at a position which has had consistent success since 1992.
In the loss against the Bears last night, veteran backup quarterback Seneca Wallace completed 11-of-19 passes for 140 yards and threw one interception. Wallace was also sacked four times, including twice on the final two plays of the game.
Last night, fans figured out why Wallace hadn’t played an NFL snap since the 2011 season. Wallace’s small stature (5-foot-11) was the result of many tipped passes at the line of scrimmage by the Bears’ defensive front, and Wallace proved he couldn’t throw the ball with any kind of serious velocity down the field.
Currently, the Packers have quarterback Scott Tolzien on the practice squad and it’s likely that the team would promote him to the 53-man roster if Rodgers was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Packers decide not to promote Tolzien, however, this would be one of those rare occasions where Packers General Manager Ted Thompson would look outside of the organization to find more help at quarterback.
Obviously, Packers fans would like to see Thompson bring back veteran free agent Vince Young or recently-released Matt Flynn. Young was in training camp with the Packers this past August while Flynn served as Rodgers’ backup from 2008-2011. Bringing in either player though wouldn’t help ease the situation.
In training camp and in the preseason, Young was clearly more talented than fellow quarterbacks Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman, but his inability to comprehend the Packers’ playbook led to his release. Like Wallace, Young hasn’t played in an NFL regular season game since the 2011 season.
Flynn is remembered by Packer fans as Green Bay’s ace in the hole behind Rodgers at quarterback. In two starts in place of Rodgers with the Packers, Flynn completed 55-of-81 passes for 731 yards and threw nine touchdown passes with only two interceptions.
As great as bringing Flynn back to Green Bay sounds, Packer fans have to understand that his talent has obviously declined in the eyes of others around the NFL since his final days with the Packers. In the past two years, Flynn has been a journeyman quarterback, spending time with the Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills.
Understandably, Flynn lost his starting job to up and coming quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Terrelle Pryor in Seattle and Oakland, respectively. In Buffalo though (where the quarterback injury situation couldn’t get any worse), the Bills decided to start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel over Flynn.
Flynn may have only been in Buffalo for a short time, but when the coaches feel a guy like Tuel, who has only completed 44.1 percent of his passes for 309 yards while throwing one touchdown and three interceptions, gives Buffalo a better chance to win than Flynn? Oofta, that’s a cause for alarm.
If Green Bay decides to keep the quarterback situation in-house and start a veteran who is 6-15 in 21 career NFL starts or look outside of the organization for washed-up talent, the Packers’ short-term answer under center will stir up quite the quarterback controversy.