Wallace enters competition for 49ers' backup QB job

Harbaugh: All five quarterbacks could play on Sunday

Wallace enters competition for 49ers' backup QB job
August 23, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Jim Harbaugh on playing time: "We'll split it up after Kap four ways." (USA TODAY IMAGES)

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SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Seneca Wallace, a new addition to the 49ers on Thursday, hit the practice field with new team on Friday.

On Sunday, he is expected to suit up and play in the 49ers' exhibition game against the Minnesota Vikings, coach Jim Harbaugh said.

"There (are) numerous plays in our system that he's done before, whether it's (in) Cleveland or Seattle," Harbaugh said. "So it's just a matter of learning how we call them and getting familiar with the quarterback-center exchange. The timing with the receivers might not be precise and exact, but to be able to get out, play and compete, I feel he can do that."

Wallace, 33, spent his first seven seasons with the Seahawks. He did not play his first two years and started 14 games over the five seasons in Seattle. He moved onto the Cleveland Browns, where he started seven games as Colt McCoy's backup in 2010 and 2011. His head coach was Eric Mangini, who is now on Harbaugh's staff as senior offensive consultant.

"Good feedback," Harbaugh said of Mangini's input. "Felt like he could do a lot of the things that a quarterback who can move can do in our system. Thought he'd be worth exploring."

Wallace was out of work last season after the Browns released him in training camp. While he watched games every week from his offseason home in Dallas, the Sacramento native took particular notice of the obvious trend sweeping the NFL.

Wallace, who entered the NFL as a dual threat quarterback while at Iowa State, was born about a dozen years too early.

"When I came in, they didn't glorify that," Wallace said. "We didn't want mobile quarterbacks. Now, they're utilizing kids' talents, and that's a good thing.

"If I came out now, it would be a different story, but I don't have any regrets. I'm happy to still be playing football."

The 49ers have not exactly gotten impressive play from those competing to serve as Colin Kaepernick's backup. And that opens the door for Wallace, released Monday by the New Orleans Saints, to enter the competition.

"The fact that you can get an experienced quarterback like Seneca Wallace at this stage, where you have 7-to-10 days left until there's a cutdown to the final roster, and a chance to put him in and do more than just a workout," Harbaugh said. "You get a chance to actually practice and play in a preseason game or two. So (I) felt like there was no downside to doing that."

McCoy and Scott Tolzien, who has been limited in practice this week due to an undisclosed injury, were not impressive in the first two exhibition games. Rookie B.J. Daniels has seen an increase in practice reps as his game-winning touchdown drive late against the Kansas City Chiefs has elevated him into the conversation.

"If he (Tolzien) is good to go, 100 percent or close to it, we'll split it up after Kap four ways," Harbaugh said.

McCoy and Wallace both have 21 career NFL starts. Neither Tolzien or Daniels has ever played in a regular-season game. But those credentials means little to Harbaugh.

"Whoever the best player is and gives us the best chance of winning the game as a backup quarterback," Harbaugh said, "that's who you want on your roster, whether he has game experience or not."

 

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