Cory’s Corner: Solidify backup QB job and sign Matt Flynn
Last year proved just how important a backup quarterback is not for just the Packers but for any football team.
Having a bona fide star quarterback is an advantage that coach Mike McCarthy may have gotten a little too comfortable with. He got used to the 50-yard rollout passes on a dime and being able to whistle a fastball into tight windows.
They say you never really know what you have until itâ€™s gone. Well, that couldnâ€™t have been truer for the Packers last year. With Aaron Rodgers shelved for seven games, the Packers nomadically spun their wheels until Matt Flynn was able to play good enough to fix the leaks and right the ship.
Now I realize Flynn doesnâ€™t exactly strike anything resembling fear into opposing defenses. But he is a six-year NFL veteran and more importantly, heâ€™s a 4Â½-year vet of the Packers.
Which is exactly why I am surprised that the Packers havenâ€™t signed the unrestricted free agent yet. His 3-4 career starting record may not be anything to brag about but his ability to win over a huddle and lead a team â€” especially when your No. 1 option goes down â€” are things you want in a substitute.
Flynn turns 29 this summer and even he must realize that his days of being a starting quarterback are over. After having dreams of leading the Seattle Seahawks, he was upstaged by Russell Wilson. To make matters worse, he was upstaged by Terrelle Pryor in Oakland and the Bills barely kicked the tires before sending him on his way after just 21 days.
The opportunity to become a starting quarterback in the NFL is ever-shrinking, especially with all the dynamic college quarterbacks that are now bursting on to the scene.
The only sticky point could be money. Flynn was paid a pro-rated veteran minimum salary of $715,000 last year for Green Bay. With that money, he salvaged a 16-point deficit against Minnesota, which ended in a tie. And he orchestrated comeback wins vs. Atlanta and the thriller at Dallas.
McCarthy hasnâ€™t missed an opportunity to mention how much he likes Scott Tolzien, who is under contract for $645,000 next season. I think Tolzien can one day become a solid NFL quarterback. However, the Packers arenâ€™t in a position to wait. They have the best wide receiving tandem in the game in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, a running back in Eddie Lacy that has all the makings of being another great Green Bay road grader and an outside linebacker in Clay Matthews that should only get better as he enters his sixth season.
If the Packers were St. Louis or Jacksonville, Iâ€™d say Flynn wouldnâ€™t add any value to your team because those teams arenâ€™t playing for the present. However, if Rodgers goes down for an extended period of time again next year and Tolzienâ€™s number is called, Iâ€™m not fully confident that he would get the job done.
Flynn may have an arm thatâ€™s made of out of spaghetti and heâ€™s got a pair of cinder blocks for feet. But leadership in the NFL shouldnâ€™t be discounted, especially when the Packers have weapons that make it easier to hide his flaws.
The Packers rolled the dice last year with Seneca Wallace. He was an aging quarterback that made his living scampering out of the reach of hulking defensive linemen. When his speed finally caught up to him, his arm and more importantly his leadership were exposed.
Making the same mistake with the backup quarterback again will likely not put the Packers in another fortunate playoff spot. It will force them to make some tough personnel decisions that should have been addressed a year ago.â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn