On Monday night the Green Bay Packers learned in painful fashion why adaptable backup quarterbacks are a more valuable commodity in today’s NFL than black diamond watches and chains. They're also rarer than frugal athletes following sound financial advisors. The 78 percent of NFL players who go bankrupt after retirement is a fitting analogy for the Cheeseheads offense munching on government cheese without Aaron Rodgers under center.
Case Keenum’s ascendancy to the starting job in Houston is emblematic of the benefits of investing in the depth chart. The Packers went from putting up Floyd Mayweather numbers on offense to getting evicted on three and outs.
After Corey Wootton and the turf made a sack sandwich with Rodgers’ in the middle, the Packers quarterback left the game with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder and never returned. The Packers were forced to downgrade from a suite at The W to a single room at Motel 6. If it's a fracture to his left collarbone as reported by Chicago's WBBM Newsradio 780 on Monday Rodgers is estimated to miss six weeks (#NoDeerspray). The Packers may have to get used to the bed bugs. They made their bed. Now they may have to lie in it.
Losing Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley for extended periods of time were punches in the gut, but amputating Rodgers from the first team offense would be the guillotine on their postseason aspirations.
In relief of Rodgers, Seneca Wallace looked overwhelmed by the Bears defense.
Two months ago, Wallace was disputing his retirement after walking out on the San Francisco 49ers on the day of their preseason finale.
In 11 years he’s etched out a place for himself as a quick and agile backup quarterback in a slot receiver’s body. However, at 33, he’s slowed down by a few fractions of a second and he’s more of a leader in scout team snaps than he is as a first-teamer.
It’s not too difficult to put a finger on why exactly Wallace is still a backup. General manager Ted Thompson drafted Wallace in 2003 when he was Mike Holmgren’s top talent evaluator in Seattle. He’s more familiar with the West Coast system than the NSA is with Angela Merkel’s text history.
Conversely, Jay Cutler’s backup Josh McCown marched up and down the field on the Packers defense quicker than a FAMU drum major at halftime.
The clock on Chicago’s championship window is on the verge of chiming. While Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Cutler and Martellus Bennett are in their prime, the defense is a perishable item.
Brian Urlacher’s release and retirement this offseason was just a harbinger of what’s to come. Peanut Tillman is a free agent next season, Julius Peppers may be a casualty of his burdensome contract and Lance Briggs is no longer a sideline to sideline defender.
For Green Bay, the playoffs are no longer a formality.
Midway through the season, there’s a three-way mosh pit gathering atop the NFC North division and the Packers are on the verge of getting crushed in a stampede if Rodgers can’t go. It's not all bleak news though. Help could be on the way. No, I'm not talking about Brett Favre. Vince Young is faxing his resume out to Mike McCarthy as we speak, but in an auspicious turn of events, the Buffalo Bills released Matt Flynn on Monday afternoon. He's no lobster dinner, but he's better than the government cheese they've got on their depth chart now.