Like everyone under the sun in the (716), I've been doing a lot of thinking when it comes to the Bills QB issues. I'm all over the place with the subject matter. I know I want change, but the road on how to get there feels like a crossroad on a LA Expressway. Just too many intersections that don't exactly lead to promise.
In fact, I have a post brewing that pretty much looks at all of the angles for which they can go for a QB. For some odd reason, Matt Flynn came to mind. I guess I was trying to figure out a way for the Bills to get a QB who is actually in the NFL and not someone coming from college. Now, if given the choice, yes, I would totally sign up for a rookie and watch him develop rather than get a NFL QB on this crappy market. But, I'm never been one to close the door on an unknown, and we all know the draft and in this case, Matt Flynn, are unknowns.
Here are just some things to consider before you scoff at him and consider this piece to be nothing more than cheap traffic for the site:
The Packers (Even though he's not there anymore), have always turned out good QBs who weren't picked in the top 10: Rodgers, Favre, Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks and Matt Hasselbeck.
He's only costing you 5-million bucks if you trade for him and you could probably trade a 3rd or 4th round pick for him. Also, there's a good possibility the Hawks may cut him cause he costs too much or may give him away to get rid of his salary.
IGNORE ROB JOHNSON! I know that when we hear about a guy who has started like two games and was traded for a high pick, we automatically think of Rob Johnson. You gotta get over that. There have been unknown QBs traded for high picks that have done well in the NFL. All the GB guys who were traded and Matt Schaub come to mind. Of course, there's Kevin Kolb. Still..It doesn't happen all that much to clearly just say it isn't an option.
He knows the west coast offense...And we don't know if the guy stinks or not.
For the piece, I wanted to reach out to the folks at the Seahawks website on Bloguin (Seahawk Addicts) and the Green Bay Packers SB Nation site (Acme Packing Company) to ask about Flynn. I'm mainly intrigued because no one is talking about him, yet, I kind of think he should be mentioned or at least explored by fans and media members. The first part of the Q&A is with David Shanley from Acme Packing Company.
1) What are his strengths and weaknesses?
I think attitude and intelligence are his greatest strengths. He is a smart QB who will not make many mistakes in an offense and keep a team in a game. He also a scrappy QB who will fight till the bitter end of a game and get those on the team to follow him. So the best example of this I can think of is back in 2010 when the Packers went up to play the Pats in Foxboro. Flynn started that game and most people gave the Packers no chance, but Flynn was able to keep the offense focused and nearly stole the game away from the Pats.
His most noticeable weakness is his arm strength. Flynn has an NFL level arm, but not much beyond that. He is not in the class of Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton there. His deep ball is also a bit wobbly.
2) Do you think he can start in this league? Why?
I personally like Matt Flynn as a starter in this league. I think he could step in for lots of teams right now and be an upgrade to their current QB situation. He probably is not going to be one of the elite QB's, but as Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have shown that's not necessarily important as long a s the QB and team can get hot at the right time. As for your questions... I do think he can start in this league for a team desperately needing an upgrade at QB. I think smart general managers know that top 5 caliber QB's aren't easy to find, but what can be found is a QB who can manage a game and prevent a loss. Flynn is that guy in spades. He will make the smart decisions and can make most of the throws, especially in a west coast offense.
3) The Bills run a west coast offense. Do you think that would be a fit for him? Why?
I think the WCO is an ideal fit for Flynn. He can hit the short to mid range passes. This offense brings out his decision making ability and intelligence while downplaying the deep ball and arm strength questions that plague him. He has also spent most of his career in some form of WCO here in Green Bay or in Seattle
4) Can you go into detail about how well he played in relief of Rodgers against New England and Detroit?
Flynn stepped in relief of Rodgers at Detroit in 2010 and started for Rodgers at Foxboro in 2010 and versus Detroit in 2011. The worst of those games was his first one at Detroit. In that game Rodgers left with a concussion. Flynn went 15/26 177 yards and an interception. It was a sloppy game for the Packers and one where the Lions pass rush led by rookie sensation Ndamukong Suh really carried the day for the Lions.
The game against the Pats is Flynn's shining moment in my opinion, although the game against Detroit was a win and prettier numbers. Flynn went 24/37 for 251 yards 3 TD's and 1 INT in that particular game. He was efficient and the moment did not look too big for him. Considering it was a Sunday Night Football game, the team thought the playoffs hinged on that victory, and it was his first NFL start (and the first QB to start for GB not named Favre or Rodgers since 1992) I would say that it was a pretty good accomplishment.
The great problem Flynn had was he struggled running the two minute offense late in the game. The Packers lost that game because Flynn couldn't get the final play snapped in time to make one last push to the end zone. All in all I say that's a minor quibble since it is something that he would learn in time, but it is something that cost the Packers the game. The game that got Flynn the big deal he received from the Seahawks was the game against Detroit in 2011. This was a rather meaningless game for the Packers but an important game for the Lions. Flynn was 31/44 for 480 yards 6 TD's and 1 INT.
He set the franchise record for most passing yards in a single game that day as well (again considering the team has two potential Hall of Fame QB's, two actual HoF QB's - Bart Starr and Arnie Herber) that's not too bad. If you go back and watch the tape on the game Flynn's performance was good but not great. He got lots of help from other guys with run after the catch. What he was able to do though was go score for score with one of the better young passers in the game and make all the throws you'd want to see out of a QB in cold windy conditions.
Now here is a Q&A about Matthew Heuett from Seahawks Addict:
1) What happen with Matt Flynn in the preseason? It seemed like on the outside, he was a shoe-in to be the QB, but obviously they went with Wilson, which proved to be a great decision. Did it have anything to do with Flynn's play or Wilson just being that much better?
Flynn looked decent in the preseason -- not spectacular, but solid. Watching him play reminded me a bit of Hasselbeck in that he doesn't have the strongest arm or the prettiest deep ball (to be fair, I don't think there's enough pro tape on him to judge conclusively his prowess with long bombs), but he's money in the short to mid-range game. Flynn did miss a preseason game with tendonitis in his elbow, which hurt him a bit in the competition, but when you get right down to it his losing out on the starting job had nothing to do with anything he did and everything to do with Wilson playing like the second coming of Fran Tarkenton.
2) If the Hawks were to trade him, what do you think they'd want in return? Do you think he can start in this league?
I would guess that the asking price for Flynn would be at least a day two pick, something in keeping with the trade the Chiefs are reported to have negotiated with the 49ers for Alex Smith. Flynn is scheduled to make $5.25 million in 2013, which has led a lot of predictions that the Seahawks will cut him rather than pay a backup that much if no trades materialize, but I doubt that will happen. Wilson will be making a ridiculously low $526k in 2013 thanks to his rookie contract, so there isn't much cash tied up in the quarterback position even with Flynn added in.
From what I've seen of him (both in Seattle and Green Bay), Flynn is definitely a starting-caliber player. I love having Wilson under center, but I think the Seahawks would have had a strong season in 2012 with Flynn at the helm, too. Really, the Bills could do much worse than Flynn at QB, especially if the offense Doug Marrone installs includes a heavy dose of West Coast Offense principles.
Joe's final word: I know most fans have this bunker mentality of "WE NEED TO DRAFT A QB AND DEVELOP HIM BY ANY MEANS" rhetoric right now. I get it. It is due to the team not having a QB for years and us seeing the position blow up in terms of yardage and being drafted high. You also have Buddy Nix on record saying that before he retires, he wants to leave us with a franchise QB. It is like being a kid and having your parents tease you about the possibility of going to Disney World and you refuse to hear any other vacation option because you have your sights set on it.
In regards to Flynn, I can already hear "Jackson is not different than Flynn" coming across my Twitter feed, but Jackson has played enough in the NFL to know that he's average. We have no idea about Flynn. After reading these Q&As, I wouldn't exactly hate the idea. I'm with the Mike Schopp crazy rhetoric of drafting and bringing in a ton of QBs who are young and unproven.
In essence, if Flynn costs you a 3rd rounder, I look at that exactly in the same way as the Bills drafting a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round. I mean, it is kind of hard to prove an unknown as a fact, right?