Wallace expected to start for Browns against Cardinals
Seneca Wallace doesn’t walk so much as glide. And as the Browns’ backup quarterback saunters into the locker room following practice he looks and acts every bit like Cleveland’s starter.
He probably will be Sunday.
With Colt McCoy still experiencing headaches and not practicing from a concussion suffered in Pittsburgh last week, Wallace, who has spent most of his NFL career as an understudy, likely will start when the Browns (4-9) visit the Arizona Cardinals.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur has not yet ruled McCoy out, but all logical signs are pointing to Wallace making his first start this season — and his 19th in nearly 10 pro seasons.
“Seneca’s taken all the reps,” Shurmur said before Thursday’s practice. “And as the days go by and Colt hasn’t practiced, it’s two plus two.”
McCoy was sent home for the third time this week with lingering symptoms from the wallop he took from Steelers linebacker James Harrison, suspended one game for the vicious helmet-to-chin blow.
Shurmur said all players needing treatment begin their day in the training room, and if they are unable to take part in meetings or are still feeling poorly, they are sent home to rest.
McCoy’s future with the Browns remains uncertain, and with only three games left, he’s running out of time to show the club he can be their long-time starter.
Browns general manager Tom Heckert said no decisions have been made on McCoy — or any other players.
“We’ll have to really, really look at it after the season,” Heckert said. “He’s done some good things. But the whole evaluation will be done afterward. We just haven’t sat down and broken down every play. There’s no decisions being made.”
Heckert feels the Browns have seen enough of McCoy to make a judgment and assess him fairly.
This week, they’ll get another look at Wallace, whom they re-signed as a free agent before the lockout.
Wallace has played in three games this season as a reserve, twice coming off the bench to fill in for an injured McCoy and once lining up at wide receiver.
If McCoy can’t play this week, and that seems to be a near certainty, the Browns are expecting Wallace to step in and run their West Coast offense.
“We won’t miss a beat,” wide receiver Josh Cribbs said. “Seneca is very capable of stepping in and keeping the ball rolling. He has a lot of talent.”
Wallace came off the bench cold last week after McCoy was flattened by Harrison and completed his only pass, a 13-yarder to tight end Evan Moore that gave the Browns a first down at the Steelers’ 5. That’s when McCoy made his shocking return after missing two plays and threw a costly interception in the end zone.
Wallace refused to discuss last week’s events, which have hung over the Browns for days as the NFL launched an investigation into the team’s treatment of McCoy.
“I’m not going to talk about that,” Wallace snapped earlier this week. “It’s over. I’m done with that.”
Wallace’s focus is on the Cardinals, and getting the Browns’ into the end zone.
Before coming to Cleveland, the 31-year old Wallace spent seven seasons running Shurmur’s West Coast offense for Browns president Mike Holmgren in Seattle.