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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.

Week 7

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

Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers

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

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

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

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

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

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants

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

Overall: 52-40

Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of the Mining Journal. Check out his Armchair QB column every Thursday at and follow him on Twitter at Email him at



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Blog Photos

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)