Green Bay's offense without Aaron Rodgers may be better than you expect

      November 6, 2013 @ 16:32:11 PDT

The timeliness of this analysis may seem delayed, but I wanted to let the dust settle to know more about the quarterback situation of the Green Bay Packers. Knee-jerk reactions do no one a service.

The Packers will run with veteran Seneca Wallace for the time being. He was putrid in Week 9, but the journeyman came off the bench cold and had almost no preparation for the Chicago Bears. Given a full week of focused practice with the first-team offense, it is sensible to expect better of Wallace in Week 10. You have to go back to Week 17 of the 2008 season to find a multi-TD passing effort from Wallace, which spans 28 appearances and nine starts.

For as much as I was hoping to see Brett Favre give it one more go as a Packer, settling for Scott Tolzien may be the next best thing. I have always had a soft spot for him, but situations have not been conducive to providing the third-year pro with a valid opportunity to start.

Green Bay Packers QB Seneca Wallace

Tolzien, a former Wisconsin Badger, was under the watchful eye of Packers general manager Ted Thompson for some time as an instate product. The quick-and-dirty on Tolzien: Average arm strength, a lack of athleticism, slightly undersized (6-foot-2, 213 pounds), quick release, understands progressions, accurate within intermediate passing routes, high-character guy with excellent leadership skills.

In a nutshell, he's a game manager with the intangibles of an elite NFL quarterback but lacks the physical tools necessary to thrive in Mike McCarthy's downfield passing attack. Should the offense be scaled back -- make that the offense will be scaled back -- into a more conservative system, Tolzien can thrive in the short-passing game of quick slants, digs, curls and screen passes. Let the receivers do the work, in other words.

I see Rodgers missing a minimum of four games, likely closer to six, so the question is whether or not Wallace can keep the Packers competitive and win a few games in the meantime. If he can't, Tolzien is a realistic possibility for the Packers. He has been with the team since Sept. 2 and knows the system well enough to be every bit as competent as Wallace, in worst-case scenario.

The effect on the rest of the team should not be as glaring as many people expect, however.

  • Look for a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy and, to a lesser extent, James Starks until Rodgers returns. Their fantasy value doesn't change much, unless Wallace is completely incapable of keeping defenses even remotely honest -- you saw that in Chicago as soon as he entered the game with the eight-man fronts ... Lacy still pounded them
  • Expect downgrades in the production of the receiving targets -- Jordy Nelson becomes a WR2, James Jones is now a WR3/flex, and Jarrett Boykin may not be playable, if not unrosterable
  • Andrew Quarless could see an uptick in production from the tight end position, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Brandon Bostick earn more playing time with Jermichael Finley (spine) now on IR. Wallace simply doesn't take shots downfield
  • Mason Crosby could remain one of the most potent place kickers in the league

The aspect that gives me hope for the fantasy prospects of this offense is the stretch of games Rodgers may miss couldn't be much more favorable: Philadelphia, at New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, at Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, at Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers. There is some real potential here, if Wallace is capable of getting the ball out of his hand and accurately deliver it. Color me skeptical but optimistic.

Wallace should be better than he was in Week 9, yet he still isn't worthy of a roster spot. In the event he surprises and lights up Philly, consider him deep-league roster filler. Tolzien would have mild fantasy value if he is granted an opportunity to start.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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