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Short week complicates Wallace's preparation

Nov. 7, 2013
 

The Packers have the added challenge this week of getting backup quarterback Seneca Wallace ready to play with only two days of real practice instead of three.

Because the Packers played Monday night instead of Sunday, their Wednesday practice was a jog-through, not a full-speed session. So Thursday was Wallace’s first real practice as their starter after Aaron Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone that will sideline him for several weeks.

Coach Mike McCarthy and his staff have tailored a game plan for Wallace against the Philadelphia Eagles, but Wallace will have one day fewer of full-speed work than he’d have in a normal week.

“At the end of the day it’s about running an offense,” McCarthy said. “This man knows how to play quarterback, so I’m not as concerned about that aspect. It’s just getting – you don’t have enough reps right now, and we’re not going to stand out there and practice for three hours coming off a Monday night game, that’s not the answer. But just getting him timed up and ready to go this week and then we’ll take the same approach next week.”

Wallace has been with the team only since the first week of the regular season, so he’s never learned the offense in the way the Packers prefer to teach it, through the installations they conduct in the offseason and then do again the first two weeks of training camp.

Instead, Wallace has learned the offense ad hoc.

“When he came in the process was get the game plans in, teach him what’s going on game plan-wise, and then relate it to what he’s done in the past that’s been similar to it,” said Ben McAdoo, the Packers’ quarterbacks coach. “It’s not the normal standard operating procedure, but he’s done a nice job catching up.”

The Packers signed Wallace to be their backup after cutting Vince Young and B.J. Coleman at the end of training camp primarily because he’d played in a similar West Coast offense in his previous seven seasons in the NFL, and at age 33 he still had excellent mobility.

But after working with him for two months, they also like his even temperament.

“He’s a guy that’s calm under pressure,” McAdoo said. “He loves the game, and he’s been through a lot and seen a lot.”

The short practice week also is making tougher for the Packers to get their new backup quarterback, Scott Tolzien, enough snaps that he’ll be ready to play if Wallace is injured Sunday. They signed Tolzien t their practice squad the first week of the season and promoted him to their 53-man roster just this week.

But the priority is to make sure Wallace is as ready as possible.

“But we need to get Scott involved in the drives and give him a little bit, too,” McCarthy said, “because you have to make sure your No. 2’s ready.”

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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