The Oakland Raiders have started 15 different quarterbacks since 2003, but Matt Flynn may be the answer to the instability.
Flynn has outplayed Terrelle Pryor, Tyler Wilson and Matt McGloin since the opening day of training camp (July 26), earning the coaching staff’s praise with his precise and consistent throws. When not under center, the 28-year-old remains as cool and collected as they come.
“Things on the field are going to come and you have to be able to do that as well, and I feel very confident in my ability to do that, but overall you have to be smart and accurate,” explained Flynn after practice.
Flynn led LSU to the BCS Championship in 2008 but fell to the seventh round in the NFL draft due to concerns with his athleticism and arm strength. Granted, no one will confuse the six-year pro with Cam Newton, but the noted criticisms undermine his excellent accuracy on short and midrange passes and his effectiveness as a leader. Head coach Dennis Allen named Flynn the regular season starter in May for these very reasons.
Still, Flynn is an enigma. He has two career NFL starts, both in which he played like a Pro Bowl nominee. (He looked the part of a Hall of Famer in December 2011 tossing six touchdowns and 480 yards against the Detroit Lions). As opponents collect more film on the quarterback, he will inevitably endure throwing slumps and be forced to readjust his game. But based on early impressions, Flynn will be up to the challenge.
The starting gig is Flynn’s to lose, and unlike last year with the Seattle Seahawks, there is no Russell Wilson around to steal the glory. Arm strength be damned, if his current arc of development continues the Raider should have enough gridiron tools and wit to be a mainstay on the team for the next several seasons.
Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press