Quarterback Matt Flynn (15, with Seattle last season) is trying to win the starting job in Oakland. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
A year ago, Matt Flynn was projected to be the Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback.
After being acquired as a free agent after being a backup in Green Bay, Flynn was going to be Seattle’s savior. Yet soon he was back on the bench, having lost the quarterback battle to rookie Russell Wilson.
Now that Flynn is getting another chance to start, with the Raiders, he’s not about to let the quarterback job slip away from him a second time.
“I took away a lot of things from Seattle last year,” Flynn told reporters Tuesday at the Raiders training camp in Napa. “But the thing that I took away the most was that I want this even more now, even more this year. I’m blessed to have another opportunity at this and I’ll try to take advantage of it and do as much as I can to not let it get away from me.”
So far, after a week of training camp, all accounts are giving Flynn two thumbs up in his quest.
Observers say Flynn has been the sharpest quarterback in camp, better than holdover Terrelle Pryor and rookie Tyler Wilson.
On Tuesday, Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, reported that Flynn had had yet another good camp session and had thrown the best pass of the day, a perfect spiral to a leaping Marcel Reece in a 7-on-7 drill over the coverage of No. 1 draft pick, cornerback D.J. Hayden. Wrote McDonald: “Flynn continued to be the most consistent passer.”
Several analysts and scouts have voiced doubts this offseason about whether Flynn has the tools to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. They cite his lack of experience – just two NFL starts, both with Green Bay – and a throwing arm that isn’t a cannon.
But Flynn isn’t worried about the critics. He’s trying to control what he can control and play to the best of his ability. So far, he’s gotten the majority of the practice time with the first-unit offense.
“To play quarterback in the NFL, to me, you have to be two things,” he told reporters Tuesday. “You have to be smart and you have to be accurate. 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.”
He says if he makes a mistake on one play, or in one practice session, he’s working hard to make certain he doesn’t make the same mistake again.
“I’m coming out here every day with my hard hat on,” he said. “Trying to prepare.”
The other thing he wants to do is make his teammates better and be a leader. There’s a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback, some new receivers and new opportunities for success – or failure. Flynn is trying to make sure the Raiders don’t fall into the failure pit.
“(I have to) focus on making everybody around me better,” he said. “Pushing them to not have those down times in practice.”
Head coach Dennis Allen has said Flynn is the projected No. 1 QB, but he’s leaving the competition open. But he’s noticed Flynn’s good play.
“It’s kind of playing out about like I expected,” Allen said Tuesday. “Matt Flynn has been pretty consistent. Those guys (quarterbacks) are doing exactly what we want them to do, keep competing and keep playing. Don’t worry about the depth chart, just keep getting better.”