Matt Flynn Finally Back Where He Belongs as Packers' Backup QB

Zach KruseSenior Analyst INovember 13, 2013

Nov 14, 2011; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) rushes for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.  The Packers defeated the Vikings 45-7.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After failed stints in three different NFL cities, Matt Flynn is back in the role that always fit him best: as the backup quarterback of the Green Bay Packers

On Tuesday, or roughly 22 months after Flynn's last game in Green Bay, the injury-ravaged Packers officially announced the signing of their former quarterback. Seneca Wallace, who started in place of Aaron Rodgers against the Philadelphia Eagles, was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

A backup to Rodgers for four years, Flynn will now be the No. 2 behind Scott Tolzien when the Packers take on the New York Giants on Sunday.

A move at quarterback was necessitated when a rash of injuries beset a franchise blessed with better health at the position than any other over the last 25 years. Rodgers fractured his collarbone against the Chicago Bears two weeks ago, and Wallace's start only lasted one series. 

Available and with extensive knowledge of the Packers offense, Flynn—a former seventh-round pick of the team in 2008—was an easy choice to be the new backup.

Flynn excelled in the role from 2008 to 2011, during which time he won the No. 2 job over former second-round pick Brian Brohm and slowly developed into a quarterback Mike McCarthy and his staff could trust if Rodgers went down.

Over four years in Green Bay, Flynn started two games and completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,015 yards, nine touchdown and five interceptions. His passer rating was 92.8.  

Flynn eventually used his various successes as the Packers backup—including a six-touchdown performance against the Detroit Lions in 2011 and a near-upset win over the New England Patriots in 2010—to nail down a lucrative free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Flynn later lost a training camp battle with rookie Russell Wilson and was then dealt to the Oakland Raiders this past offseason.

The quarterback-starved Raiders gave up on Flynn on Oct. 7, and the Buffalo Bills did the same on Nov. 4. He went unclaimed on waivers. 

Officially a failure as a starting NFL quarterback, Flynn can now rest easy in the role he was made to fill. 

While lacking the big arm and athletic ability of most NFL starters, Flynn is smart, efficient and well-versed in the offense he'll be re-inheriting. Both Seattle and Oakland overestimated his abilities to be a franchise quarterback, but Flynn still has the skill set of an ideal backup.

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 01: Matt Flynn #10 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown pass with Josh Sitton #71 against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41.(Photo by Jona
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Packers probably couldn't have asked for a better emergency option.

The majority of teams would have needed to scramble at the position down two quarterbacks. And in the most likely scenario, a team would need to settle on a new face without prior work in the established offense.

Green Bay won't face a difficult adjustment period with its former No. 2 back in town. 

Flynn's four years of experience working under McCarthy and alongside Rodgers should make the transition back into the Packers offense an easy one. The play calls, audibles and protection adjustments shouldn't be drastically different than in 2011, Flynn's last season in Green Bay. 

Six days of preparation also provide ample time to learn any changes and new additions. 

“There’s always change and there’s things that cycle out of the offense, things that maybe come back from years before,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show at ESPN Milwaukee. “Terminology changes a little bit, signals obviously change. But I’m sure Matt’s going to have no problem picking it up.”

If Tolzien were to go down against the Giants on Sunday, or at any time before Rodgers is back and healthy, Flynn should be able to run the Packers offense without much trouble.

Still, this acquisition shouldn't be confused for anything other than an old face returning to back up the current starter. 

Given only a handful of practice reps last week, Tolzien came off the bench cold and played better than anyone could have expected in his NFL debut. 

The 26-year-old completed 24 passes for 280 yards—both Packers franchise records for a quarterback in his first appearance with the team—plus one touchdown and two interceptions. Green Bay scored just 13 points and lost, but Tolzien earned his first NFL start. 

Flynn, for all his experience in the offense and past successes with the Packers, wouldn't figure to play unless Tolzien suffers an injury or is so ineffective that a change needs to be made. In a best-case scenario, Tolzien would play well enough to bridge the gap between now and when Rodgers returns. 

Keep in mind, Flynn has been shown the door by three different teams in a calendar year, and 31 teams—including the Packers—balked at putting in a waiver claim when both the Raiders and Bills released him this season. His arm remains suspect, and a nagging elbow injury has furthered reduced his ability to attack down the field.

The Packers currently don't need Flynn to start. And that should be fine with him. 

The circumstances are less than ideal, but Flynn's career has finally come full circle—with him once again playing backup quarterback in Green Bay.