Monday, March 19, 2012

The Case For Matt Flynn

It's fairly obvious that people are infatuated by the sexy idea. In football, teams without a star quarterback talk endlessly about getting a "franchise" quarterback. You ask them how, and they will say, "draft one in the first round." Easier said than done.

This offseason the Seahawks found themselves in a bit of a quandry. They weren't bad enough to have a high draft pick, one that would net a top qb prospect, and they weren't good enough to feel that they could stand pat with Tavares Jackson.  I will stand by my idea that even with Jackson starting, the Seahawks are a playoff team this year. But, to reach the next level, the Seahawks need more from that position.

You don't need an elite quarterback to win in the NFL, Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson are two great examples, Joe Flacco is another.  The counter argument is that the previous mentioned quarterbacks were buoyed by great defenses. I'd argue that the Seahawks defense is one year from very good, and two years from great. What you DO need however, is a quarterback who doesn't make huge mistakes, no pick sixes, no turnovers on big drives, no heniously missed throws in crucial situations, and you need a quarterback that can drive you down the field in the fourth quarter of a big game and score a touchdown. In order to win a Super Bowl, this will have to happen at some point during the season.

So where does Matt Flynn fit into all of this? Quite well.  We don't have a large sample size to work with, so, let's look at what we know. He's made a couple starts for the Packers over the last couple years and performed very well.  His performance in the regular season finale against the Lions was ridiculous. Before the Lions game, the Packers offense had started to sputter, or, in their case, not ring up 40 points a game. Flynn comes in and has a record day against a below average Lions team. There was no pressure, but Tavares Jackson has never done that, against anybody, even with Adrian Peterson, Sydney Rice and the best offensive line in football at the time with the Vikings.

But, that's just one day, Rob Johnson was a stud with the Jaguars in mop up duty when the Jags were winning 12-14 games a year. So was Jay Fielder when he was in the same situation.

Flynn, at LSU, was asked to do exactly what he'll be asked to do with the Seahawks. Don't make mistakes, and get the ball to the playmakers. He did this perfectly at LSU, he was a leader on a poorly coached offense, and made some huge throws when he had to(see LSU/Auburn 2007).  It's not like the Hawks are going to be asking a guy who is used to chucking it 40 times a game to change his style. Flynn's style is the Hawks style, and vice versa.

I would feel differently about this move if the Hawks had overpaid, if they got suckered into a long contract, or the teams scouting department didn't draft the guy in Green Bay. But, I trust Green Bay's scouting, and I trust the Hawks scouting. Jackson was a placeholder in a year where the Hawks were trying to cut down on the learning curve of the offense and he played, dare I say, above expectations. He's a solid backup, but he's not going to win you the Super Bowl.  I think there's a much better chance that Flynn is.

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