Category Archives: Matt Flynn

24

December

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Steelers 38, Packers 31

Eddie Lacy had his way with the Steelers' defense and could be in for a bigger day against the Bears if he's able to suit up.

Eddie Lacy had his way with the Steelers’ defense and could be in for a bigger day against the Bears if he’s able to suit up.

After the Green Bay Packers lost a home heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Packers’ playoff destiny fell out of their control.

But Jay Cutler and the division-leading Chicago Bears were blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles later Sunday night, and now it’ll be Packers-Bears in the final week of the regular season for the NFC North crown and a spot in the playoffs.

And for the umpteenth week in a row, a good portion of ALLGBP’s Game Balls and Lame Calls post will be centered around the increasingly unknown status of Aaron Rodgers, which got even cloudier when ESPN’s Chris Mortensen cited potential tension between Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy on NFL Countdown prior to Sunday’s game. Mortensen tweeted Rodgers remains at “extraordinary risk” with his fractured collarbone.

But the whole will-Rodgers-play-or-won’t-he-play debate or the why-isn’t-Rodgers-playing question seems kind of pointless, doesn’t it? Clearly, Rodgers isn’t ready to play right now. He hasn’t played since November 4, and he wants to play. Whether the final call falls with Rodgers, McCarthy, Ted Thompson or Dr. Pat McKenzie, the fact still remains: Rodgers isn’t ready to play right now.

During the pregame segment, Mortensen said Rodgers pushed the “organizational decision” narrative that he and McCarthy used so often last week as an attempt to defend his toughness in hopes of fending off comparisons to Brett Favre, who undoubtedly would have played through a broken leg and a freshly amputated throwing hand.

But while I think the Rodgers debate really comes down to semantics, the Countdown segment raised some questions to me. Rodgers is who he is. He’s probably the best quarterback in the NFL, and he’s probably better in 2013 than Favre was at any point of his career, in my opinion. Naturally, comparisons will exist between Favre and Rodgers just as they did with other eternally-linked quarterbacks such as the 49ers’ Joe Montana and Steve Young and last year’s draft class that produced Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. People like to compare people to other people.

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20

December

Packers Periscope: Week 16 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Past: I’ve mentioned notable games of the past in this series (the Ice Bowl, Aaron Rodgers dismantling of the Falcons in the 2010 divisional game), but perhaps the most important game in the last decade for the Packers was their win in Super Bowl XLV in 2010 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Not only did it cement quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ position as one of the NFL’s elite players but it also justified Ted Thompson’s 6 year “draft and develop” philosophy which brought the Packers back from a salary cap nightmare.  Fans will remember Clay Matthew’s “It is time” moment of stripping the ball away from Rashard Mendenhall which preserved a Packers 4 point lead in the 4th quarter, but perhaps the biggest defensive play came from defensive tackle Howard Green, who knocked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s pass into the arms of safety Nick Collins, who returned the ball for a touchdown and at least historically sealed away the fate of the Steelers right then (no team has gotten a interception returned for a touchdown and lost the Super Bowl).

Moving back further, the Steelers and Packers last regular season game occurred in 2009 which quickly became a shootout; Rodgers threw for an impressive 383 yards but Roethlisberger proved even more dangerous, finishing the game with an astonishing 503 yards.  It also marked the rise of Jermichael Finley, who moved from a up and coming player to a serious receiving threat, which would continue until his injury in 2010.

The Present: The Steelers have been effectively eliminated from the playoffs; the Cincinnati Bengals have run away with the AFC North and are almost definitely going to win the division this year.  Baltimore trails behind Cincinnati, but also has a shot at a wild card berth.  Pittsburgh unfortunately only is predicted to get in as a wildcard team .8% of the time according to Football Outsiders, effectively making this game more of a statement game more than anything else.  Furthermore, the Steelers have always been a very deliberate and conservative organization and the coaching staff has not been rumored to be on the hot seat, this game probably does not have much meaning to the Steelers, aside for maybe extracting some revenge against the Packers for their Super Bowl loss.

9

December

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 22, Falcons 21

Andrew Quarless had a big day against the Falcons, and now the Packers are eyeing first place in the NFC North.

Andrew Quarless had a big day against the Falcons, and now the Packers are eyeing first place in the NFC North.

Maybe the Green Bay Packers didn’t save their season and keep themselves in the playoff hunt Sunday with a win over the Atlanta Falcons, but maybe they did.

Along with the Packers’ 22-21 win came a Philadelphia snowstorm and a Detroit Lions loss, which puts Green Bay only a half-game behind the Lions for first place in the NFC North. And while the Packers are certainly happy they were able to get a win without Aaron Rodgers, the possibility remains that the Packers’ quarterback will be ready to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

If Rodgers is back for the team’s final three games, the Packers could win out (at DAL, vs. PIT, at CHI) and squeak into the playoffs. That’s assuming the Lions (vs. BAL, vs. NYG, at MIN) lose one more game, which wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world.

But, once again, it will probably be a late-week decision on Rodgers, and the playoffs are still a long way away.

Now, after winning Dec. 8 for the first time since Oct. 27, the Packers are 1-4-1 since Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, leaving them at 6-6-1 on the season. And it took everything the Packers had on both sides of the ball.

With seven of Atlanta’s 21 points coming on a Sean Weatherspoon pick-six before halftime, the Packers’ defense tightened up and allowed just 14 points on the afternoon, thanks to a second-half shutout. The Falcons put together a methodical 78-yard drive to tie the score at seven, but their only other scoring drive was set up by a Matt Flynn fumble deep in Packers territory.

Flynn and the offense turned in a much-improved performance after last week’s stinker, but the defense rose to the occasion and powered the Packers to a much-needed win.

Clearly, Jerron McMillian was the only problem with the Packers’ defense.

Game Balls

Matt Flynn

Coming into the game having given up at least 27 points in their last six games, many expected the Packers would need to light up the scoreboard in order to get past the Falcons. That wasn’t the case, but Flynn and the offense still mustered up 22 points and earned their sixth victory in the process. Flynn made some poor throws, but his lone interception came on a (that-kind-of) ‘WOW’ play, and he was efficient with the football throughout the day. Quite the difference from the debacle on Thanksgiving.

27

November

Packers vs. Lions: Keys to the Game

Matt Flynn

“Matt, we both need you to do this one more time!”.  Flynn will make his third lengthy appearance against the Lions in the past four seasons

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving and while this past month hasn’t been what many had hoped, at least we only have to wait a short four days between games!  That also means our schedule at ALLGBP.com is accelerated so this is our version of the two-minute drill.

The Green Bay Packers have been tabbed for yet another Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Detroit Lions.  Since 2001, the Packers have faced the Lions in this matchup in every odd year with the exception of 2005.  Green Bay has won all but one of those games, dropping the 2003 contest to the Mike McMahon-led Lions.  Since then, the Lions are winless on Thanksgiving Day.  So here we are, ten years later and the stage could be set for Detroit to break their Turkey Day slump.

The Packers made yet another quarterback change this past week, inserting Matt Flynn over Scott Tolzien, in order to spark the Green Bay offense.  It worked.  The Packers came back from a 23-7 deficit to tie the game and force overtime.  Both teams managed only a field goal and the game ended in a tie.  It was the first game, under the new overtime rules, that both teams kicked a field goal.

With the Lions falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (more like collapsing), the tie actually moved the Packers a half-game closer to the division lead.  That makes this week’s matchup all the more important for both teams.

Let’s look at some of the major headlines that will likely emerge in this week’s contest.

Matt Flynn until Rodgers is Ready

After signing a free agent contact with the Seattle Seahawks, being beaten out for the starting job by rookie Wisconsin boy Russell Wilson, being traded by the Seahawks to the Oakland Raiders, losing his starting job to Terrell Pryor (Big 10 conspiracy?), being cut and signed by the Buffalo Bills only to be cut weeks later, Flynn is right back where he began his career.

What a carousel and through the process, Flynn made a lot of money but raised many questions about his ability and health.  Why was he unable to maintain a starting role or stick with some of these teams who have not had much recent success?  Even Reggie McKenzie, who was very familiar with Flynn from his days in Green Bay, pulled the plug on the experiment in Oakland.

25

November

Cory’s Corner: Biggest wart on Sunday was offense

Former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn came in to relieve the struggling Scott Tolzien.

Former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn came in to relieve the struggling Scott Tolzien.

Everyone is going to want to blame the defense today.

And, yeah, it sounds about right.

The defense allowed a 2-8 team to waltz into Lambeau Field and get pushed around by Adrian Peterson who hasn’t been 100 percent for quite some time. Most people can swallow giving up 146 yards on the ground to a future Hall of Famer like Peterson.

But Toby Gerhart’s 91 rushing yards was more of a surprise than finding a 50-dollar bill in the couch cushions.

Yet, despite all that, I’m not blaming the loss, err tie on the defense.

Nope, this coulda-been is on the offense.

Most specifically, the very first overtime drive. Freshly inserted Matt Flynn — whom coach Mike McCarthy admitted he was looking for a spark — led the Packers down the field within scoring distance in eight plays.

The Packers had the ball 1st and goal from the Minnesota 7 and the only thing that was gained from such a great drive was a 20-yard field goal that Mason Crosby could’ve made with his eyes closed.

The play-calling didn’t help either. I didn’t like Eddie Lacy off right tackle on 2nd down and goal from the 3. Lacy got swallowed up for a one-yard gain, which set up the obvious pass on third down.

That of course coupled with the horrific 3-for-16 third down conversion rate and this offense would have had trouble finding water while falling out of a boat. The measure of good offenses down to the game level is how well they move the sticks. As long the chain gang keeps running to set up first downs, the rest will take care of itself.

I realize that it hasn’t exactly been easy for this offense without pass catchers like Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, but the Vikings secondary isn’t scary. That unit has been gutted with injuries this year and McCarthy was too concerned about not losing as opposed to grabbing a much-needed win.

Now we cannot compare any of the last three quarterbacks that have been inserted since Aaron Rodgers went down. But then again, those are the guys entrusted to play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. This isn’t the Green Bay Southwest High School JV team where a quarterback is expected to throw at most six passes a game.

12

November

Matt Flynn Signed, Wallace Likely Headed to Injured Reserve

Matt Flynn Green Bay Packers

Matt Flynn’s career has come full circle over the past 18 months as he is once again the Packers backup quarterback

The Green Bay Packers have reportedly signed quarterback Matt Flynn after he worked out for the team on Monday of this week.  Flynn was originally drafted by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2008 draft and worked his way to being the team’s primary back up to Aaron Rodgers.  Flynn would spend four seasons with the Packers before signing with the Seattle Seahawks prior to the 2012 season.

Penciled in as the Seahawks starter, Flynn was unseated in training camp by rookie Russell Wilson.  From there, Flynn became a road warrior.  After just a few backup appearances in Seattle, he was traded to the Oakland Raiders in April of this year.  Flynn made one start in Oakland before being released when the team decided to go with Terrell Pryor at quarterback.

Flynn was picked up by the Buffalo Bills, but he was unable to crack his way up the depth chart and he was promptly released.  There was much speculation as to why Flynn was unable to stick in either Oakland or Buffalo.  Some pointed to issues with tendinitis in his elbow.

The Packers were thrust into a quarterback frenzy last week when Rodgers was injured and it became known that he would miss time.  Backup Seneca Wallace finished the game against the Chicago Bears and started this past week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.  But just one series into the Eagles game, Wallace was forced out after suffering a groin injury.

Scott Tolzien finished the Eagles game and has been named the starter for the Packers this week against the New York Giants.  With questions surrounding how effective Tolzien can be coupled with the unknown availability of Wallace, the Packers were once again forced to look for more reinforcement at quarterback.

Today it is being reported that Wallace is likely headed to season-ending injured reserve.  The Packers likely knew things were headed in this direction and therefore, expedited the process of evaluating Flynn.  Flynn will back up Tolzien this weekend.

It has been ages since we have been able to have a discussion like this about the quarterback position in Green Bay so let the commenting begin!

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

8

November

Packers Periscope: Week 10 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Past

Last time these two teams met was in the NFC wildcard game in 2010.  However, the Packers got to experience the beast that they themselves had created; during the season opener Clay Matthews III knocked out starting quarterback Kevin Kolb with a concussion, which paved the way for the resurgence of Michael Vick, who had been just released from jail after pleading guilty to operating a dog fighting ring.  With the more dynamic Vick leading the way with vertical receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles boasted one of the most dangerous offenses that head coach Andy Reid had ever fielded.

However, during the playoffs the Eagles failed to get much going on offense while the Packers watched as rookie James Starks, who had been hobbled by injuries all season, burst onto the scene with 123 yards rushing, a Packers record for a rookie running back in the playoffs and saw a little glimpse of what was to come in their stunning 2011 season when an unknown undrafted rookie blocking tight end named Tom Crabtree made his first touchdown reception by sneaking past a linebacker.

On special teams, the Packers didn’t make many mistakes, which couldn’t be said for the Eagles as kicker David Akers left 6 points off the board with two missed field goals.  The Packers also enjoyed several big plays on defense, notably Clay Matthews completely destroying tackle Winston Justice and a last minute end zone interception by Tramon Williams that pushed the Packers into the divisional round against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Present

A lot has changed for the Eagles since the 2010 playoff game.  13 year incumbent Andy Reid was replaced by college football phenomenon Chip Kelly, who had lead the Oregon Ducks to a 46-7 record with 4 bowl appearances with his fast-paced, spread offense.  While Kelly and his super speed offense sent shockwaves throughout the NFL after their opening game against the Redskins after calling 53 plays in the first half, the rest of the NFL adjusted and the Eagles have been the epitome of “up and down” with some thrilling victories and some crushing defeats which explains the 5-3 record.

While Michael Vick still holds the starting quarterback position in name, Nick Foles has made a case to remain under center after a record breaking 7 touchdown, 158.3 QB rating touchdown performance last week against the Oakland Raiders.  On the other side of the ball, the Eagles defense has been largely ineffective, sorting out much like the Green Bay Packers in terms of defensive efficiency.