The career of quarterback Matt Flynn can be summed up by the events that took place on New Years Day in 2012. With a 14-1 record, the Green Bay Packers entered the final game of the season comfortably set as NFC North Champs and had already clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs. They proceeded to rest several starters, including eventual NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.
In stepped Flynn, making his first start of the season, coming into the game tallying only 5 pass attempts during the year. Flynn went on to throw for 480 yards, 6 touchdowns and 1 interception, leading the Packers to a 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions.
The aftermath of that game could not have been better for Flynn. Of course, everyone wondered how good could Flynn really be if he had 15 more opportunities to put up numbers like those he put up in Green Bay's season finale in 2011. It's not easy to put up 480 yards, coming in cold turkey off of the bench. This kid had to have something special in him, and the league wanted to inherit that. Today, we can look at that game on New Years Day as one of the biggest overreactions in NFL history.
Flynn was cut by the Oakland Raiders a day after current starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor led the team to a 27-17 victory over San Diego. That is the second time Flynn has been released in favor of a younger, less experienced (in years) quarterback.
The Sports Post's own Matt Levine could be coined some sort of prophet, as he saw the Raiders making this type of move with Flynn, nearly two months prior to training camp. Matt's prophesy of sorts still leaves room for shock in that Flynn couldn't nail down a starting spot in even the most ideal situation in Oakland.
Flynn lacks NFL starting experience, and he doesn't bring game-impacting skill to the position.
A new coach, and his competition being a mid-round draft pick in Tyler Wilson and a supplemental draft 3rd round pick in Terrelle Pryor looked like an ideal mix that would finally cement Matt Flynn as a starting quarterback. Yet Pryor's camp showed that he was a more explosive option in a league that is seeing an increase in dual-threat quarterbacks, again putting Flynn on the outside looking in, and in his usual spot, on the sideline.
One must feel sorry for Flynn at this point. Even last season, after he was released by Green Bay because he was highly coveted by several teams due to that monster game at the end of the season, he found himself in a great situation in Seattle, where the Seahawks were just a solid quarterback away from being a contender in the NFC West.
Flynn was all but set as the starter in Seattle until training camp, when a certain 3rd round pick named Russell Wilson showed Pete Carroll and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell that he had what they were looking for in a signal caller, making Flynn's 3-year, $20.5 million contract worthless to Seattle. Ironically, a 3rd round pick had him ousted in Oakland, as well.
Does Flynn have bad luck? Sure. Is he a bad quarterback? Not at all. He could actually lead some teams that need quarterbacks now, such as Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay. However, what keeps Flynn from being more desired includes his lack of NFL starting experience, and the fact that he doesn't bring game-impacting skill to the position.
More so now than ever, the quarterback in the NFL is being asked to make plays with his arm and feet, and if it can only be his arm, it better be a very good arm. Unfortunately, Flynn doesn't have a stellar arm, nor is he extremely mobile. He was beat out by quarterbacks that have been more dynamic than most feel he could be, and Wilson and Pryor's successes so far in their careers justifies their coaches' decision to start them.
Matt Flynn may get another opportunity at some point soon. He is still a solid quarterback who can contribute in the league. However, unfortunately for Flynn, he may never get his chance as a starter because of the shift of style of the quarterback in the NFL. And with college quarterbacks bringing that dual-threat style into the league in the next couple of years, Matt Flynn may just be a victim of change in the NFL.