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Point of Veau: Matt Flynn Has to Consider Sticking with the Packers for the Long Haul

Packers quarterback Matt Flynn. Photo by Corey Behnke of CheeseheadTV.com.

After his recent come-from-behind victory against the Dallas Cowboys, it's starting to become clear what Matt Flynn can offer as an NFL quarterback.

Flynn possesses below-average arm strength and decision-making that's glacier slow compared to Aaron Rodgers. He avoids pulling the trigger on many throws because he doesn't want to give away a costly turnover, and when he holds onto the football, he's prone to being sacked and fumbling the football.

But Flynn also has an intricate grasp on the Packers' offensive playbook and the utmost respect of his teammates. He has passable accuracy and an ability to direct a no-huddle offense.

The longer he's in Green Bay, the more Mike McCarthy can gear the offense to accentuate Flynn's strengths and mitigate his weaknesses.

How long Flynn remains in Titletown, however, is a matter of conjecture.

It's important to note that Flynn signed just a one-year contract with the Packers and will be a free agent at season's end.

And after the Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills all gave up on Flynn in the span of a few months, it's difficult to envision many––if any––teams attempting to bring Flynn in as a starter, and especially not for the $26 million the Seahawks originally offered.

Although, what does have a chance of happening is a team offering an opportunity for Flynn to come in and battle for a starting position or to be a short-term starter while the coaching staff tries to bring a first-round draft choice up to speed.

The Packers could find themselves in a predicament, not wanting to get into a bidding war for a player who they intend to use strictly as a backup.

And amazingly enough, if offered enough money, the Packers could receive a compensatory draft pick for the second time in three years should Flynn sign with another team in the offseason.

But before signing anywhere else, Flynn will have to think long and hard about the situation he'd be leaving behind in Green Bay.

In four games filling in for Rodgers this season, Flynn has directed the Packers to two wins and a tie, all in comeback fashion. That's on top of his record-breaking performance in 2011 when he threw for 480 yards in the regular-season finale and being a member of the Super Bowl XLV team.

Thanks to his accomplishments, there will always be a special place for Flynn in Packers' fans hearts. Years down the road, he'll find an adoring public in Green Bay and perhaps someday, even a spot in the Packers Hall of Fame.

For the right price, there will likely be an opportunity for him to play Doug Pederson to Aaron Rodgers' Brett Favre. Most of Pederson's career was spent playing second-fiddle to Favre for eight seasons in Green Bay with brief stints as a starter in Philadelphia and Cleveland.

What Flynn will have to decide is whether it's worth it to continue chasing the dream of being a starting NFL quarterback in a situation where he truly isn't considered "the man."

In a season which the Packers have been criticized for not coming up with a viable backup to Rodgers entering the season, the Packers will have to give the position serious consideration in the coming months.

It starts with how much money and how many years they'll be willing to offer Flynn, but it also includes the continuing development of Scott Tolzien.

Under contract through the 2014 season, the Packers will have the luxury of Tolzien going through McCarthy's offseason quarterback school, Organized Team Activities, minicamp, training camp and seeing if he's a viable long-term backup.

The Packers probably also won't rule out adding a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft in a year that's being hailed as featuring a deep quarterback class.

But first it comes down to Flynn. With free agency occurring before the draft, the Packers will have weigh the pros and cons of letting Flynn walk away. And so will Flynn.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (63) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Stroh's picture

While theres no arguing his arm strength, its not NFL starter, it was better when he left GB than it is now. I think he can regain some, if not all what he lost since leaving and have a passable arm. Still not a starters arm tho.

I don't think he decision making is nearly as slow as you think it is. Remember he's had to learn 3 offenses in the past year and some of that can confuse when having to make quick reads. Give Flynn an offseason in GB and he'll be on point like he was when he left. A firm grasp of the Packers offense and terminology will make his decision making much better.

I do agree, its probably in Flynns best interests to stay in GB. He won't get a starting job and any team will be looking to upgrade or move on as soon as possible. He knows the Packers and McCarthy knows exactly what he is and isn't capable of. He's the ideal backup IMO. Add a developmental QB whether Tolzien or draft and the QB position would be set in GB.

In the end its up to Flynn to accept that he probably isn't getting a starting job elsewhere anymore.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

His decision making may or may not be slow but if it is it has nothing to do with being in 3 different offenses. A smash route is a smash route in Baltimore or in Buffalo. The most common problem for a quarterback coming in to a new system is learning the terminology. For example, in the Coach Holmgren/Walsh terminology 24 Double Square Out is the same as 24 Okie in a West Coast Offense lead by a different coach. It is the exact same play and route progression but called differently. Some coaches are more "wordy" while others want to minimize the length of a playcall. Another example might be 22 Hank vs. 22 Razor. Both are 5 step drops with the TE hooking up over the ball and working out if necessary. Since continuity has been an important ingredient I highly doubt Mike McCarthy has changed the nomenclature of his offense so that it is completely foreign to Flynn. Flynn's greatest detriment is the fact that he hasn't played much live football in his career outside of pre-season games and not due to learning a "new" offense that isn't new to him.

Stroh's picture

Yeah terminology has a lot to do w/ it, as I mentioned. But don't kid yourself, learning 3 offenses and trying to differentiate them is difficult. They weren't all WCO schemes either. The progressions and concept of each are always different even IF their all WCO. Sure a smash is a smash is a smash, that's entirely too simplistic. The route concepts and progressions can vary as much as the terminology. Its not just one play and one receiver. Its one play w/ many different progressions depending on the concepts of the offense.

4thand1's picture

If it were all the similar, wouldn't defenses have it made?

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

The NFL is about working your match-ups to exploit the opponent's weakness. Plays are very similar from team to team. A double slant is called "Tosser" in the Ehrhardt-Perkins system. WCO geams also have a double slant. How you use your personnel, where and when you attack a defense and when you call the play is more important than having great plays. The coaching maxim is this: No play in the playbook is designed to lose yards and each of them is meant to score a TD. Plays are dressed up and disguised by formation and personnel. Defenses are trained to spot tendencies with these factors to diagnose potential play calls. Offensive play callers self scout to break these tendencies.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

I'm not kidding myself. The concepts are all the same. If you've ever played or coached at the professional level you'd understand. Progressions do vary but more so due to the coverage presented and not because of the style of offense. Philosophically some offenses like to attack deep and as such will have that type of progression but progression reading by a quarterback is commensurate with the depth of drop. 5 step is still 5 step no matter where you go in this league. The lay person, such as yourself, often gets hung up on the types of plays being run as different which is not the case at all. A 3 level flood is a 3 level flood giving a vertical stretch and a stick nod with a train on the outside is still a horizontal stretch anywhere in the league. The tough part really is understanding protections. Some teams are exclusively a man protect team. Others use both man and full/partial slide protections (I.e. Jet in WCO). Quarterbacks struggle more with that than progressions. Matt Flynn knows this offense. He knows the progressions. There is no confusion. You may hold that opinion but it really holds no water.

packeraaron's picture

"I’m not kidding myself. " Lol.

Stroh's picture

SO you don't think the progressions in a WCO are different than the Coryell offense? Comeon man...

The concepts are different so each route can be run for a different reason w/ a different primary and seconday receiver. That's not even getting into different route combinations...

RunAndHyde's picture

I never played a pro sport......but I did stay at a holiday inn express last nite.

Evan's picture

You guys are giving me nightmares about trying to learn my high school play book. I'd usually just have the guard tell me "run play" or "pass play."

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

By the way....smash or china is not a one man route. It's a cover two beater. The TD Nelson scored on Sunday was a smash route. The outside receiver runs a hitch or short in route at 5-7 yds. to hold the corner. If the corner gains depth (sinks) under the slot receiver the QB throws the short route. If he mugs up on the short route the QB throws to the 12-18 yd. void between the corner and safety. Flynn made a poor throw and Nelson bailed him out. Pretty sure Flynn knew the progression.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

Well Stroh it's pretty clear you don't trust what I'm saying. I probably won't convince you but that's okay. I know what I know. But to answer your question specifically as it relates to the Coryell system and how you can find the same exact play in a West Coast Offense system here goes: 2 or 3 Jet Flanker Drive is a staple vertical stretch play in the Holmgren/Walsh branch of the WCO. 940 F Corner or H Corner is the exact same concept and progression in the Coryell system. And when I say exact I mean spot on to the depth of drop, route depth...everything. It could be from Brown Right A Right or Blue Right in WCO terminology or Jack Right Zip Ace Rt in Coryell/Zampese terminology. The play is exactly the same.

Don't get hung up on the type of systems. Essentially there were three....Coryell, Walsh/Brown, and Erhardt Perkins. Each had a different philosophy of attacking...more so between Coryell and the Walsh/Brown approach but each was different because each had different types of quarterbacks. Coryell derived teams liked to attack deep because they had that type of quarterback (Fouts, Aikman). Walsh's system was created out of necessity because Virgil Carter couldn't do the things traditional quarterbacks could do which was namely throw deep after handing the ball off. That was football in the 70's and 80's so Walsh's approach was considered radical. But it has lasted the longest and permeated the NFL much more than any other "system." The main difference between Coryell and Walsh systems....how formations and plays are called. Coryell uses a number system for routes while the WCO of Walsh and Holmgren is all descriptive and requires memorization of a concept and not a route tree. Numbers in the Walsh system are used for running schemes and pass protection schemes.
Hope that clears it up. If you'd like me to diagram the aforementioned play I could do that too.

jack in jersey city's picture

"The lay person, such as yourself"

:D

p.s. love your posts p.o.c.!

WKUPackFan's picture

POC - This is the best information I've seen on football terminology and concepts I've seen in a long time. Thank you. Wish with all the hours and pages of pro football coverage we could get more of this in depth analysis. Credit to Stroh also for discussing it with you.

Stroh's picture

Well I'm smart enough to know when someone knows more than I do. Who are you and how do you know this stuff? R U The real Paul Ott Carruth? I was figuring you were a lay person like myself, tho I do think I have pretty good knowledge of the game myself. Anyway, a diagram would be nice if you can provide it, not that I don't trust you.

On another note, what do you know of run game plays. I know that McCarthy made an overhaul of the running game this past offseason. Can you tell us more about that? Would that be something that Flynn would have trouble with? Do you know in what way McCarthy changed the running game?

Jordan's picture

What's the name of the Packers' play where Rodgers drops back to pass and nobody is open or a defensive lineman is breathing down his neck or Rodgers is confused by the coverage and Rodgers has to run for his life?

It seems like they run that play a lot. ;)

I'd rather have Jason Garrett as backup QB instead of Flynn. He should be available for a tryout after the season and he looks to be in great shape. Plus he's good on Thanksgiving. :P

Randy's picture

Hate to say it after yesterday's performance but I think it'd be foolish to offer him more than a 1 year contract for minimal money. He and Tolzein should engage in an open competition and see where the chips fall. GB needs a quality backup but they can't afford to pay 2. At the end of 2014 season, they can decide who to pay. If Matt gets a good offer from another team, well GL dude and thanks for the memories.

dawg's picture

POC, Great reply!!!

SOL's picture

Regarding Tolzien and MM's QB School, I thought under the new CBA the QB school is gone? Can someone point me in the right direction on that?

Brian Carriveau's picture

It's not gone, there's just less time for contact during the offseason after the league's last collective bargaining agreement. They still have the "QB camp" to the extent allowed.

PackerBacker's picture

I wonder if there's any way that they can each pay McCarthy $1 and then call him a private consultant and extend the QB camp that way.

CtSharpeCheddar's picture

He would make the Vikings better right now.As apposed to waiting to developing a rookie.He has never had a fair shake on being a starter.The Raiders o line is terrible.If I were him I couldn't stay in GB for more than a year after this season

CtSharpeCheddar's picture

He would make the Jets better right now.They have a really good defense

Arlo's picture

Can Flynn actually play well against a good defense? He hasn't had to yet in his career. At this point, Tolzien has twice the upside, just not enough experience. Bring them both to 2014 TC & let them battle it out for back-up. My guess: Matty will be looking for another team come September.

redlights's picture

Bring them both back non-guaranteed plus use a 3,4 or 5 pick on a rookie, so that 2014 is mainly Tolzien vs Flynn; then the next year QB2 is a competition again. It may turn out like Coleman; but it may not.

Evan's picture

Tolzien is already signed for next year.

Chris's picture

Tolzien has many many picks in very very few games. He might have upside,but Im not going to hold my breath on that one. As a fan, I want in like Flynn to stay… 2 comebacks and a tie in spite of our suspect jeckle and hyde defense. I hope he wants to stay and I hope GB gets him reasonable. Then not this next yr but the following year a higher pick spent on a qb for developement. I know Braun didnt workout, but ya gotta keep taking chances.

ZeroTolerance's picture

I think the best option is to keep both Flynn and Tolzien in 2014. Tolzien is signed through 2014, probably not at much cost. Flynn would be insurance for 2014 while Tolzien or a draft pick develops, and I bet he would not cost a ton of money and will be available.

Only downside is using three roster spots for QBs.

CtSharpeCheddar's picture

They won't do that.Scott is going to take some time and then we will have to see.Flynn has been here much longer and is much further along.Is he great? No.My point is if he played a year with the Jets or the Vikings either team would be a playoff team.Both these teams are good but the qb play has been horrible.

The TKstinator's picture

I see this: the Packers will make him what they consider a "reasonable" offer. After how he has fared in three other cities, will any team offer him substantially more? It only takes one team to make a "crazy" bid.

So, Flynn might be left to consider "ok" money in Packerland, or slightly more in a new city/situation. In that case I think he'd stay.

If a "crazy high" offer comes in it'll come from a team who sees him as "the man", and I would think he'd take that.

DHoward's picture

I think this is exactly right. He won't leave for a bit more money knowing he probably has more longevity with the Packers going forward. Remember, he was unsigned for a few weeks this year. A solidified spot on the roster will be more important to him then chasing a slightly higher contract especially considering he'll be in his 7th year next year which means his vet minimum goes to $840K a year.

Jon's picture

Let Flynn go in free agency, hopefully he will find a starting job, develop Tolzien and draft a QB for backup

Nerd's picture

Flynn gets another shot to start somewhere. Imo he's earned it with these come from behind victories, including the tie.

Tolzien gets a year or two to develop. By the time Tolzien gets his shot, Flynn might be ready to come back and settle for a backup spot. Hard to say.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Flynn is all you want/need out of a backup. If QB1 misses time, Matt keeps you competitive, gives you a chance. He's not flashy, but doesn't need to be. He's well liked in GB, has good friends there, if he realizes what he is, there is no reason this cant be great for both parties. He can make a nice living holding a clipboard. Should QB1 go down in the future, he can come in and play hero. Kid is a gamer.

Evan's picture

Agree 100%.

Tom's picture

Can't believe I'm agreeing with you, but I am. Matt has never really had a chance. He's proved he can be a good quarterback, if given the opportunity. He got beat out in Seattle,& rightly so, did not have a team in Oakland, & didn't get a chance in Buffalo. I hope he stays, but there are always teams looking for a quarterback. Majakowski said, "Had he known Favre was going to stay 16 years, he would have never left" Not sure if he meant it or not. I hope Matt sticks around. IMO he's an asset to the team.

Chris's picture

Not flashy? What part of 5tds against a potential playoff team wasnt flashy enough? Just last week McCarthy said "ok, Matt has had 2 full weeks of practice"

Seattle wanted a "mobile qb" and thats what they have.The raiders needed a miricle and perhaps several more. Look at SF, and look at what Alex Smith is doing for KC…
My point… those other teams needed "types" of qbs for their offenses.You put Flynn on the Vikings and yes… they become a playoff team.

4thand1's picture

His arm strength looks minimal. Maybe its due to tendonitis? If he regains it and can throw a deep ball, you gotta keep him. I don't think he'll get a ridiculous offer like last time, but 2 mil a year wouldn't be out of the question.

Derek in CO's picture

While Flynn may not have the best arm, he is a winner who prepares the right way, has respect and confidence of his teammates and coaches, and knows the offense. I'll take that in a backup. Remember he's had to learn 3 other offenses in the last two years. If they can dink and dunk with him successfully, that's all you need. A better defense sure would help.

Tom's picture

I agree. You said it Right!! I think he has Confidence here as well. We have 2 good back-ups. I think Flynn will get an offer, more than we're willing to pay. Hope I'm wrong.

4thand1's picture

Well just in. Its all in Dr. Mckenzie's hands. Wednesday we'll find out if Rodgers will be cleared.

Stroh's picture

Not necessarily. That's when he'll be evaluated again, but even if not immediately cleared they could wait till as late as Fri before announcing whether he is cleared and able to play.

redlights's picture

Just as GB said AR was in play when he really wasn't the last few weeks; I kinda wonder if he won't be at least available off the bench this week. Sounds silly, but if Flynn can engineer a win; why risk AR?

Can imagine Tomlin shitting a brick when he prepares for Flynn and walks on the field to see AR in pads.

Evan's picture

If he's "available off the bench" he's starting.

redlights's picture

Not so fast! That was my initial reaction too, but think about it. If Flynn plays well, let AR heal. If Flynn craps his pants again like the last two games, who better to come to the rescue?

I know I have about at 2% chance of winning this argument, but its amusing, anyways.

Evan's picture

I think 2% is generous...haha.

I get what you're saying...but if Rodgers is healthy he's starting.

themasterfake's picture

If he's dang near healthy...he should dang near start...meaning ...on the bench ...lurking

dawg's picture

Matt, you don't have a choice, your a Packer!!!!

dawg's picture

Look at the books!

dawg's picture

Let it happen.........................

dawg's picture

Best Part---Jerry Jones said it was the worst loss of his career.,

Joe's picture

Thanks for sharing ur thoughts Paul Ott Carruth. Loved the way you approached the game when you played it.

phillythedane's picture

Stroh, dude, where you been, man? The authors of this website have stated a number of times that the posts from 'Paul Ott Carruth' are from a former NFL coach, and possibly player, who wishes to remain anonymous. He has a passion for Packers football and wishes to share some insights.

The real Paul Ott Carruth was rather anonymous, but if the poster is the real guy, then that would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?

I, for one, am glad to finally hear from Paul Ott C. It's been awhile. I trust in his knowledge.

When he says it's about match-ups, it's about match-ups.

I did not regard the late Max McGee as a brilliant radio analyst. But when a former player who achieved lofty status says football is football; it's a simple game; it's about beating the guy across from you, I believe him.

Perhaps Paul O. C. has refrained from commenting this season because of the ridiculous din. (Or maybe he's just been in Tahiti.) Who knows?

But I always appreciate his contributions and pay way more attention when he chimes in than all the others who proclaim themselves experts.

More Paul Ott Carruth.

redlights's picture

+1

Stroh's picture

Sorry, must have missed those posts. Been here about a year now, not sure, but don't remember anything about who he is. We've had other discussions and I respected his knowledge and he intimated his background, but didn't elaborate like he did this time.

I understand that its all about matchups, always have... Great example being Jordy in the SB vs William Gay. Totally schooled him over and over...

I don't claim to be an expert by any means, hopefully just well informed amateur.

themasterfake's picture

but not on third and 15 please....

Albert Lingerfeld's picture

Its really up to two parties, do the pack want to retain him and pay him a new contract or do they wish to keep Tolzien and let the more expensive Flynn go?
Does Flynn want to stay or does he want to try to get another contract elsewhere.
All we really know is Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo all paid him some very nice money for doing nothing and I for one wish I could have made it that easily.

Phatgzus's picture

Think his contract was fulfilled when he was dropped by the 'Ders, pretty sure Buffuffaloo picked him up for peanuts, as did TT.

Ron from ct's picture

Next year it's going to be fun to see who wins the back up to Rogers Tolzien looks like he has a lot of talent and Flynn has really come on the last few games I think Tolzien beats him out though

davyjones's picture

An adoring public in Green Bay? Yes

"and perhaps someday, even a spot in the Packer Hall of Fame"???

You've GOT to be joking...Jim Del Gaizo has a better chance.

All the Wayzo, with Del Gaizo.

themasterfake's picture

Matt Flynn seems a bit slow on the release like he double clutches ....but I'm a fan...

I bleed Green More's picture

I sure hope he stays and TT offers but hey who knows, I just love how he gives the effort to win.

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