Green Bay fans witnessed in 2013 how important the right backup quarterback can be to a team's success. Is Matt Flynn a good option for the Packers moving forward?
Whatever his flaws, quarterback Matt Flynn does possess the ability to execute coach Mike McCarthy's offense.
Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports
By Paul Imig
FOX Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Season stats: Five games (four starts) (does not include time with other teams); 102-for-166 passing (61.4 percent), 1,146 yards, seven touchdowns, four interceptions, 85.7 passer rating; sacked 17 times, fumbled four times (lost all four); 17 rushing attempts for 61 yards
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: minus-5.4 (ranked No. 18 out of 23 Packers offensive players; ranked last among Green Bay's four quarterbacks)
Best game: Week 15 win at Dallas; 26-for-39 passing (66.7 percent), 299 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, 113.1 passer rating; sacked twice; 1.8 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 16 loss vs. Pittsburgh; 21-for-39 passing (53.8 percent), 232 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 69.6 passer rating; sacked three times; minus-5.7 PFF rating)
Looking live: When the Packers began training camp, Matt Flynn was 2,200 miles away in Oakland competing to be the Raiders' starting quarterback against Terrelle Pryor. Green Bay initially had Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman to back up Aaron Rodgers, with Vince Young joining the group on Aug. 6. At the end of training camp, the Packers opted to sign veteran Seneca Wallace to play behind Rodgers, while also adding Scott Tolzien to the practice squad. Meanwhile in Oakland, Flynn lost out to Pryor. However, when Flynn started for the Raiders in Week 4, his performance was so disastrous in a loss to the lowly Washington Redskins that Oakland released him a week later. Flynn was a free agent for a week before signing with the Buffalo Bills. That only lasted three weeks, though, before the Bills also parted ways with Flynn. Throughout mid-to-late October and into early November, Flynn was a free agent. Then, with the Packers dealing with injuries to both Rodgers and Wallace, Flynn tried out in Green Bay and soon signed a contract to make the reunion official. The initial game plan for Flynn was to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Tolzien until Rodgers was healthy.
Upon further review: With the Packers trailing 20-7 at home to Minnesota in Week 12, Flynn was called into action, much to the delight of the Lambeau Field crowd. A Green Bay loss would have been its fourth in a row. Armed with a dose of the magic that he showed in his record-breaking performance in Week 17 of the 2011 season, Flynn led the Packers back and forced overtime against the Vikings. Though that game resulted in a tie, Flynn deserved a lot of credit for the 13-point comeback. Flynn -- along with nearly every one of his teammates -- struggled mightily four days later in Detroit on Thanksgiving. Flynn's poor performance in that loss to the Lions no doubt gave the front offices in Oakland and Buffalo some reassurance that they had made the right decision in releasing him earlier in the season. Flynn kept Green Bay's temporary starting job, though. After a 10-day break between games, Flynn was solid in a one-point win over Atlanta. Then, a whole lot of that Flynn magic came back to life in the second half in Dallas. Down 26-3 at halftime, Flynn led the Packers to a comeback that tied for the franchise's largest ever to beat the Cowboys, 37-36. Without that victory, Rodgers' return in Week 17 wouldn't have mattered. Overall, Flynn far surpassed what anyone could have reasonably expected of him. His arm strength, as many had observed early in the 2013 season, wasn't great. It was nowhere near that of Tolzien's arm strength. But his ability to execute coach Mike McCarthy's offense is exactly what made him so incredibly valuable to the Packers in 2013.
Status for 2014: Fifty-five percent chance of being on Green Bay's active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Backup quarterback can be a completely meaningless position, like it was for the Packers in the 2012 and 2011 seasons. Or, it can be the one position that exposes a team for what it truly is without an elite player slinging passes. Rodgers' injury took Green Bay from a 5-2 record all the way below .500 in a matter of one month. Rodgers is that good. But if the Packers had been better prepared behind him, it wouldn't have been such an insurmountable difference between QB1 and QB2. Therein lies the decision for general manager Ted Thompson and his staff this offseason. Flynn is a free agent and it's possible that his value is low enough across the league that he can be signed for the veteran's minimum. Green Bay also really likes Tolzien, and it's possible that the Packers could draft a quarterback. But all things considered, Flynn being back in 2014 seems like the smartest move for both parties.