Matt Flynn is in an all too familiar position these days. It's a position that he wishes he wasn't in for the second consecutive season.
Matt Flynn is yet again battling for a starting quarterback position.
After becoming a free agent in 2011, it was widely regarded that Flynn was one of the top available quarterbacks on the free agent market.
He had been backing up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay from 2008 to 2011, but it was two games, one in 2010 and the other in 2011, that made Flynn look like a hot commodity.
In the 2010 season, Green Bay faced the New England Patriots in a Week 15 matchup.
Rodgers was on the sideline recovering from his second concussion of the season and Flynn was about to make his first career start against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Nobody gave the Packers a chance, who were still fighting for a playoff spot.
The Packers would lose that game 31-27 which surprised many people that the Packers were even that close. But, the biggest surprise was Flynn. Flynn would finish the game 23-37 with 254-yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT. This was a game nobody expected a backup quarterback to have for his first career start on national television against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
The Packers would go on to win their next six games on their way to winning Super Bowl 45. Flynn was there with his customary role being back on the sideline.
In the 2011 season, Green Bay had wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and were facing the Detroit Lions in the final game of the year. Packers coach Mike McCarthy decided not to play Aaron Rodgers and Flynn would make his second career start. Flynn led the Packers to their 15th win of the season and threw for 480 yards with 6 touchdowns, both franchise records.
Flynn became a free agent and signed with the Seattle Seahawks where it was presumed he would be the starter. The Seahawks would draft a player by the name of Russell Wilson in the same year, but it wasn’t expected that Wilson could beat out Flynn. Unfortunately for Flynn, that was not the case.
While Flynn had an OK preseason and offseason for the Seahawks, he had two things going wrong for him. One was an elbow issue in his throwing arm and the other being Wilson having a great camp. Flynn, unintentionally, opened the door for Wilson to take the starting job when Flynn had to sit out preseason games to rest his elbow. Wilson took advantage of his opportunities and played very well in the preseason and was awarded the starting job.
After the 2012 season, the Seahawks traded Flynn to the Raiders, who had just traded their starter Carson Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals. Again, most thought Flynn would be the starter because of his relationship with general manager Reggie McKenzie in their Green Bay days. It was also perceived he would be the starter because of the fact Oakland didn’t have any other proven quarterbacks on the roster.
Flynn has to be seeing déjà vu right now.
Flynn has had an OK camp and preseason for the Raiders so far. But, last week against Chicago it was another Raiders quarterback that surprised many.
Terrelle Pryor opened a lot of eyes with his play against the Chicago Bears in the third week of the preseason and with Flynn not playing in the final preseason game, because his throwing elbow is bothering him again, Pryor will be making the start against the Seahawks with a chance to win the starting job. Given how poorly the Raiders offensive line is, Pryor might be the best option to play quarterback purely based on his ability to scramble and run for yards.
Ironic isn’t it though that the Seahawks could help Pryor get the starting job over Flynn? Or if Pryor plays poorly, Flynn's old team could help him get the starting job. The reality is though, is that Flynn is not a starter in the league.
It’s the second season in a row that Flynn has failed to take the starting quarterback job that was essentially handed to him and run away with it.
His average play isn’t getting the job done and what’s worse, it sounds like he has a chronic problem with his throwing elbow. If Flynn can’t even finish the preseason without his elbow acting up, how is he supposed to finish a 16-game regular season?
If Flynn loses out on being the starter for the Raiders in week one, Flynn has to face the music and realize that all he is, is a backup quarterback in the NFL.
He can't stay healthy enough to play and he isn’t capitalizing on his opportunities to be a starter. Sure, he had some good moments with the Packers, but let’s face it, that was only two games Flynn made starts in and played in its entirety.
For the second preseason in a row, Flynn will be watching his former and current team battle it out in the final preseason game for the year. All Flynn can do now is watch and wait to see what his future holds for him. Will he be a starter or no? And if he doesn’t become the starter, Flynn has to realize he won’t become one in the league and will become a career backup player.