Watching the Matt Flynn Bandwagon go bye-bye


Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) looks to pass during the first quarter of a NFL football game against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I felt that Scott Tolzien was the answer at the backup QB position. I would like to retract my original statement and offer a revised one:

Scott Tolzien is UNDENIABLY the answer at the backup QB position.

I am quite glad that I allowed the Matt Flynn Bandwagon to continue on without me. So many Packers fans have called for Flynn’s homecoming. When he was released from Seattle, they wanted him back. When he was released from Oakland, they wanted him back. When he was released from Buffalo … they didn’t want him.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Just kidding! They wanted him back desperately.

I didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now. Flynn is a capable backup QB under three conditions:

1. If there is no pass rush whatsoever.

2. If the game has no real meaning (see: preseason games and week 17 games in which you rest your starters because you already have a 1st round bye in the playoffs).

3. If you are matched up against a near winless team that has lost all semblance of hope, dignity or desire.

If one of these three situations are in play, I agree that Flynn should get the start. However, in any other circumstance? He’s best sitting down. I like him, I really do. He’s a good guy and you can’t deny that he fits the scheme in Green Bay better than anywhere else. But, he’s not the answer.

He doesn’t stand tall in the pocket. He has a “squeamish” side to him that I can’t understand. Rodgers never takes his eyes away from downfield. He follows through and completes his throws, even in the face of a monster defensive lineman. He feels the rush and escapes the pocket to extend plays. Flynn doesn’t have the same courage and arm strength. He moves off his spot too easily when he feels the pocket begin to collapse. He doesn’t have the arm strength to throw accurately on the run or off his footing. He’s light on his feet and can get out of bounds with a couple of yards, but his instincts need work.

From what we saw of Tolzien, he’s just got better instincts. Yes, his mechanics need work and Flynn has the slight edge there. But the intangibles tilt the field in Tolzien’s direction. Plenty of times I saw him stand up in a collapsing pocket and make a big throw. Plenty of times that throw was followed by a vicious hit or a facemask or worse.

Fear never entered his head and his fearlessness is what ultimately caused the interceptions. Those things can be taught down. But the intuition that he showed in the pocket comes from talent.

Flynn missed Andrew Quarless wide open yesterday in favor of Jordy Nelson with two receivers draped over him. He under-threw James Jones twice on long balls, out of which Jones made circus catches. He missed Eddie Lacy for a check down that was wide open in space, to run up into the waiting arms of two Lions’ defensive lineman. He held the ball far too long and was wildly inaccurate when he had time to work.

I kept hoping that McCarthy would pull the plug like he did the previous week with Tolzien and give the fresh legs a shot. I think we could have made some things happen with a change of pace. No such change came and that leads us to where we are now: 5-6-1 and spinning around the toilet bowl.

It started out being such a promising season. I don’t know what happened, I really don’t.

All I really know is that the Flynn bandwagon can keep right on moving. I’ll wait right here for the Aaron Rodgers train to get going again; though, by the time it picks up steam … it might just be too little, too late.