In Green Bay, quarterback Matt Flynn had just two starts and backed up Aaron Rodgers. (Getty Images)
Matt Flynn has bounced from the Packers to the Seahawks to the Raiders, has started just two games in his five-year NFL career and comes with a giant question mark on his jersey.
So it’s no surprise that when Bill Williamson, who covers the AFC West for ESPN.com, this week ranked the quarterbacks in the division, Flynn comes in dead last among assumed starters. It’s Denver’s Peyton Manning No. 1, San Diego’s Philip Rivers No. 2 and Kansas City’s Alex Smith No. 3.
Wrote Williamson of Flynn: “He will soon be 28 and he has started just two NFL games. He was beaten out by a rookie (Russell Wilson) in camp last year. Yet, he gets another chance to show he can be a starter.”
As the Raiders amble toward training camp, Flynn is No. 1 on Oakland’s roster of quarterbacks that includes Terrelle Pryor, recent draft choice Tyler Wilson of Arkansas and undrafted free agent Kyle Padron of Eastern Washington (who transferred from SMU).
Certainly, in limited opportunities, Flynn shined in Green Bay. But his limited resume, Pryor’s inexperience and the status of rookies Wilson and Padron certainly give many Raiders fans pause about the 2013 season.
Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie said upon acquiring Flynn from the Seahawks that Flynn and Pryor would have the chance to compete for the starting job. But recently, McKenzie acknowledged that Flynn is the “presumed starter.”
And Wilson, whom McKenzie likes, would be a long shot to climb over both Flynn and Pryor to earn the starting job this summer.
“He comes in at the bottom until he can maneuver his way up by his play,” McKenzie told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
McKenzie, who had been in Green Bay when Flynn was drafted out of LSU, obviously believes Flynn – if finally given a shot to show what he can do – can be the starter.
“Two things that I feel are important and that’s presence, as far as leadership and knowing how to move a team down the field, and knowing how to do it,” McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He has all the intangibles and I think he can play the position. He can throw the ball. I think he’s going to be a solid quarterback. Now how good can he be? We’ll figure that out, but I think he’s got a chance to be a good, solid quarterback.”
Flynn knows many fans and NFL analysts view him with skepticism. He has yet to prove himself and lost a job that was presumed to be his in Seattle last season when Russell Wilson emerged.
But he has faith in himself.
“You’re expecting to win the job,” he told Bay Area reporters. “That’s the mental approach I’m going to take to it. I’m here to work, and I’m here to compete and do what I need to do to make this place better.
“I want to be a part of something special, and that’s a big possibility here, of building something special, building a winning environment and building a really great organization. That’s part of the plan.”