2006 Season Review: Seneca Wallace

What can be said about Seneca Wallace? Exiting the 2005 offseason, with newly drafted QB of the future David Greene on the roster it looked like Wallace's Hawk days and probably NFL days, were numbered, but he stuck around. The 2005 season didn't answer many questions, Wallace's most memorable play was a trick play reception in the playoffs, but, again, he stuck around: Through the offseason, through the preseason and onto the team as the #2 quarterback.

In week 7 he finally got his shot. In an ugly contest for the Hawks, Wallace seemingly proved his every detractor correct. Replacing an injured Hasselbeck in the third quarter, Wallace took the Hawks completely out of the game. He wasn't accurate and his read was terrible, entering a 17-10 contest, Viking's lead, he threw an interception on his second pass attempt. He would later add an interception returned for a touchdown and a fumble returned for a touchdown, accounting for 14 of Minnesota's 18 point margin of victory. It was the kind of performance that deflates hopes and ignites the rabble into jeremiads on the local sports talk radio.

Over the next four weeks, facing a pretty easy schedule, Wallace was able to pull himself up from the Alex Smith (circa 2005) like depths of suckiness and merely be lousy. His play was the definition of cold comfort, unpleasant but no longer really gut-wrenchingly awful. He could make an occasional nice play, but concerns about his read, his accuracy and his decision making all came to fore. After tossing away the game against San Francisco, Hasselbeck returned quite suddenly and Wallace's brief starting gig came to an end. The Hawk's record while he started? 2-2. Wallace's record for the year? An ugly -25.3% DVOA.

Wallace didn't perform so badly as to keep the Hawks from the playoffs, but it would be foolish to give him credit for Seattle's two victories. While at times Wallace seemed like a competent quarterback, largely, the Hawks won despite him. After reading all this, it might be surprising to hear that I'm a fan of Wallace and I want him to remain on the team. Here's why in rough order of importance: He's cheap. 1.2 million is a pittance to pay for a decent back-up quarterback. He keeps Greene improving on the practice squad rather than getting crushed on the gridiron. He's young and very toolsy. Wallace is a great athlete and possesses a strong arm. He can tantalize with exciting plays and his read and accuracy are likely to improve as he gets older. How much is still a big question. And he's an underdog, hard-worker and seemingly a good young man. I don't get mushy about my football players, but Wallace has had to overcome a lot of assumptions to even get this far. He will do what it takes to be as good as God's possible.

Wallace will once again be battling Greene for the backup spot come August, but, with any luck, he won't see the field as anything but a wide receiver in 2007-2008.

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