Matt Flynn has all of two starts in five seasons in the NFL but has been anointed the Raiders starting quarterback.
But during organized team activities (OTAs) the past three weeks, it’s been obvious to Raiders observers that Flynn isn’t a ready-made quarterback. With a new team, new coaches, a new scheme and teammates to get used to, Flynn is a work in progress.
The Raiders, however, are patient. They traded with Seattle to get him for a reason: they like his potential. They know it’s going to take some time for him to feel comfortable and get into a groove.
In five seasons, he’s thrown just 141 passes. But his numbers have been good: 61.7 percent completion percentage, nine TDs vs. five interceptions and a 92.0 quarterback rating.
“Every day he sees a little something new,” head coach Dennis Allen told reporters this week. “We’ve thrown a lot at him, both from an offensive standpoint and what he has seen from our defense. I just want to see him continue to improve and get better. If he focuses on that, the rest will take care of itself.”
Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and rookies Tyler Wilson and Matt McGloin all have looked less-than-sharp in OTAs so far. Though Flynn has been labeled the team’s starting quarterback heading into training camp, Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie say the others will get a chance to compete for the job.
“Matt’s our starting quarterback as we go forward right now,” Allen said at the start of OTAs. “And until the competition dictates otherwise, that’s where we’re going.”
Flynn says he’s not worrying about the others. He’s concentrating on doing what he needs to do.
“I don’t look at it as I’m competing with Terrelle or Tyler,” he said. “I have to compete with myself first. I can’t control what anybody else does. I can’t control if someone goes out there and throws a touchdown. I can’t go out the next play and try to force it down the field just to match somebody. Got to play within the system, play within myself and know what I do well and just take it from there.”
Flynn’s been trying to learn and get comfortable with the offense being run by coordinator Greg Olson. So far, his decisions aren’t second nature. Sometimes he’s a few beats behind. But he’s not the only one. Even players returning from last season are adjusting.
Of course, that’s what these offseason practices are for.
“There are a lot of shifts and motions going on so we have got to definitely get sharper and get lined up and get into the right spots and run the right routes against the right coverages,” Flynn told reporters this week. “There is a lot of stuff going through everyone’s head right now and we have got to get that better so we can start taking steps to execute better.”
Eventually, he says, things will snap into place.
Flynn’s not only trying to be a good quarterback, but a good team leader as well, so he’s trying to bring an energy and intensity to practices and drills that will help the team develop.
“I think the mentality that I would like everyone to have is expect to win,” he said. “Every time you run a play, every time you play a game, expect to win. Don’t accept losing and I think if you can form that mentality of expecting to win and knowing you are going to win, then good things happen and stuff starts to happen.”