Mark Brunell. Matt Hasselbeck. Aaron Brooks. Matt Flynn?
When NFL free agency officially opens up on March 13, Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn could be joining the three aforementioned quarterbacks on the list of backups to go to another team and become successful starters. Arguably the best (fully healthy) quarterback on the market, Flynn could potentially have a significant amount of NFL personnel men interested in his services despite his inexperience and question marks.
Aside from preseason play, the only significant game action that Flynn has received was in Week 17 of the 2011 season against the Detroit Lions and in Week 15 of the 2010 season against the New England Patriots, and he played well in both games. Many believe two games isn’t enough time to evaluate a quarterback, but I’m not one of those people. Ideally, in my opinion, three games is the best bet, but there are many things that can be picked up from two games of quarterback play.
And based off of Flynn’s games, pocket presence and game management stand out as strengths, while arm velocity is a weakness.
Strengths: Pocket presence & game management
Although he doesn’t have a great amount of drop backs, Flynn showed in the two games against Detroit and New England that he had quality pocket presence. He demonstrated the ability to deal with backside pressure as well as pressure through the interior of the pocket with subtle movements that enabled him to escape would-be tacklers. This quality in a quarterback is one that’s inherent because it’s unlikely to be improved, especially since it can be difficult to simulate situational football.
He also showed good game management in both performances, and dating back to his collegiate years at LSU. Unlike pocket presence, game management, which consists mainly of decision making, can be taught, and Flynn has been taught well in this aspect of his game. He knows when to hold on to the ball and wait for a pass catcher to create separation even while blitzing defenders are bearing down, and he knows when to get rid of it under pressure.
Weaknesses: Arm velocity
While Flynn possesses pocket presence and game management skills, he struggles to deliver the ball consistently with velocity.
His lack of great velocity on his throws is something I’ve brought up before when discussing his talent, and it’s particularly noticeable when he’s throwing Dig routes. A Dig route is an inside-breaking route that has the pass catcher run anywhere from 15 to 22 yards and requires a strong, laser-like throw in between the hashes. This is a throw that he has made before, but not with consistency, which is key.
Flynn is likely to fall in line this offseason with past Packers quarterbacks while making the transition to being a starter for a different franchise. He has quality game management skills and pocket presence to go along with his mobility and accuracy.
However, his weakness lies in his arm strength, where he struggles to consistently deliver strikes in the intermediate depth of the field. Although this is an issue, it can be managed by designing the offense around the strength of his game by using play action and throws in between the hashes that are commonly seen in west coast offenses.