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Week 7: The rise and fall of former Packers backup Matt Flynn
October 17, 2013 - Matt Wellens
Thousands of people lined up at the Superior Dome in May of 2011 to get autographs from Green Bay Packers during the franchise’s 2011 Tailgate Tour stop in Marquette.
One of the most sought after signatures that day was Matt Flynn’s. Not because Packers fans clamored for the Herbie Hancock — RIP Chris Farley — of a backup quarterback, or because a hoard of LSU football fans had made the trip to see their BCS national championship quarterback.
Everyone that day thought Flynn was going to be a major star in the NFL somewhere else.
Those predictions were strengthened just over seven months later when he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns as a Packer against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field, starting in place of Aaron Rodgers.
The record-setting New Years Day game earned Flynn a three-year, $20.5 million free agent contract with $9 million guaranteed from the Seattle Seahawks on March 18, 2012.
Since that day, however, Flynn has done nothing but fall from grace in the NFL.
Flynn was beat out for the starting job in Seattle last season by underdog third-round draft pick Russell Wilson out of none other than the University of Wisconsin.
The Seahawks traded Flynn to the franchise where most NFL careers go to die — the Oakland Raiders — in April. By August, he was once again a backup QB, having lost out on a starting job again, this time to former Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor.
With Pryor concussed, Flynn got to start Week 4 for the Raiders, but by Week 5, he was demoted to third string quarterback behind Pryor and undrafted free agent Matt McGloin. Flynn was released Oct. 7.
This week, Flynn is a Buffalo Bill — the Raiders of the East — making the red, white and blue the third jersey he’s put on in less than three seasons since leaving Green Bay.
The problem for Flynn in Buffalo is he will never be the starter there either, not with promising rookie QB EJ Manuel set to come back eventually this season. Flynn’s best bet now is to ride out the season in Buffalo collecting game checks and then in the offseason, give the Packers a call.
There’s still a home for him in Green Bay as Rodgers’ backup. It’s the only team that needs Flynn as badly as Flynn needs a team.
Now on to my picks, which each week will include a brief analysis of the Packers’ and Lions’ games, plus the primetime games on NFL Network, NBC and ESPN.
Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions
1 p.m., Sunday, CBS
The Lions gave me a scare early last week before pulling away from the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter. Fall behind 17-7 against the Bengals and there’s no coming back. Lions 21, Bengals 20
4:25 p.m., Sunday, CBS
With James Jones and Randall Cobb injured, it’s time for Jermichael Finley to prove he’s the elite tight end everyone in the NFL thinks he is. Packers 24, Browns 13
8:25 p.m., Thursday, NFL Network
Despite a 5-1 record, the Seahawks have struggled on the road, with both wins away from Seattle coming by less than five points, plus a six-point loss at Indianapolis. Seahawks 17, Cardinals 13
8:30 p.m., Sunday, NBC
In the preseason, I picked the Colts to upset the Broncos in Denver in the AFC Divisional round. But first, Peyton Manning will get one more win in Indy. Broncos 35, Colts 31
8:40 p.m., Monday, ESPN
Greg Jennings and the Vikings are going through quarterbacks like Brett Favre went through No. 1 receivers. What are the Vegas odds Flynn ends up in purple after he’s cut by the Buffalo Bills? Giants 20, Vikings 16
Here are the rest of my picks with winners in bold:
Buccaneers at Falcons
Bears at Redskins
Cowboys at Eagles
Patriots at Jets
Bills at Dolphins
Chargers at Jaguars
Rams at Panthers
49ers at Titans
Texans at Chiefs
Ravens at Steelers
Last week: 9-6
Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of the Mining Journal. Check out his Armchair QB column every Thursday at MiningJournal.net and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, right, sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn (15) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. The Redskins won 24-14. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)