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Evaluating Raiders' Matt Flynn is Difficult

Former Oakland standout Gannon comes to quarterback's defense after one analyst ranked Flynn 32nd among 32 NFL starters

By Doug Williams
|  Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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Evaluating Raiders' Flynn is Difficult

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New Raiders QB Matt Flynn has just two NFL starts, both for Green Bay, since coming into the league in 2008. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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There are questions about new Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn, certainly. The fact he has only two NFL starts since coming into the league in 2008 causes concern for Raiders fans, as does his arm strength.

But is he the worst quarterback in the National Football League?

That’s the assessment of former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, who this week ranked Flynn 32nd among 32 QBs in the league.

The Raiders acquired Flynn in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks in April to replace last year’s starter, Carson Palmer, who was traded to Arizona. It marks the second straight year Flynn has  gone to a new team, following his free-agent signing in Seattle before the 2012 season. He was the presumed starter there until beaten out by rookie Russell Wilson.

Now, Flynn is the presumed starter in Oakland over incumbent Terrelle Pryor and rookie Tyler Wilson of Arkansas.

Jaworski’s rating of Flynn as dead last in the NFL among starting quarterbacks seems a bit harsh to another former NFL quarterback, Rich Gannon, who was an NFL backup for many seasons before finally getting a chance to entrench himself as a starter for several seasons with the Raiders. Once in Oakland, Gannon was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and led the Raiders to their last Super Bowl.

Gannon says, “(There’s) a lot to like about Matt Flynn.” He also says the fact Jaworski has the Jaguars’ Blaine Gabbert and the Titans’ Jake Locker rated ahead of Flynn in his ratings  “is ridiculous.”

Flynn, says Gannon, reminds him of himself.

“I don’t think he’s ever going to be an Aaron Rodgers or a Tom Brady in terms of arm strength or his ability to make those type of throws, but I wasn’t either,” Gannon said in a radio interview on 95.7 The Game this week. “I was able to get by and participate and do the little things well. I wasn’t known for having a cannon for an arm, but if you have great anticipation, the ball comes out quick, you understand the system … that’s one of the things that helps Matt is he’s been in the system, he’s got some background here. He ran a very similar system in Green Bay and in Seattle.”

Gannon, now an analyst for the NFL Network, was able to see many of Flynn’s preseason games while Flynn played for the Packers, and his two regular-season NFL starts for Green Bay, in which he was excellent – including one in which he threw six TD passes.

Gannon says it’s almost impossible to evaluate Flynn at this point because his sample size is so small as an NFL starter, and it’s hard to evaluate how good the Raiders will be this season.

“The key for Matt is going to be how well the team plays around him,” said Gannon. “Are they going to get better between now and the season at tight end and wide receiver? Is Darren McFadden going to be able to play all 16 games and have a really productive season? How’s the offensive line going to gel? What about the new offensive coordinator and how is that all going to work out? So, all these things are going to factor into how well Matt plays in his first year in Oakland.”

 

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