Oakland Raiders: How Will Matt Flynn Fare in First Season
With the departure of mistakes-ridden Carson Palmer, the Oakland Raiders quarterback situation is one of the most unsettled in the NFL. The favorite to become the new leader of the downtrodden Raiders is former Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
Matt Flynn was never supposed to be a Raider; he was supposed to be heading into his second season as the leader of the Seahawks. However, Flynn was beat out by rookie phenom Russell Wilson in training camp last year, which made Flynn expendable this offseason. Flynn has shown some flashes of greatness in his two career starts. In his first start against the New England Patriots, Flynn threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns. In his second start against the Detroit Lions, Flynn threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns. Unless he has another mediocre training camp, Flynn should be the Raiders starting quarterback this year.
New offensive coordinator Greg Olsen will setup the offense to fit Flynn’s style of play and it will be up to Flynn to make things happen for the Raiders. While Flynn is more of a West Coast-offense-style quarterback, his receivers are not really built for that style of play. One of the Raiders super-athletic wide receivers must find a way to become more of a possession-style receiver for Flynn to thrive this year. Second-year wide receiver Rod Streater is probably the favorite to become Flynn’s number one target this year because of his great route running and sure hands. Flynn must find a way to mesh with Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, who have both shown flashes of greatness over their young careers in the silver and black.
One of the biggest issues for the Raiders offense will be the tight ends. With no proven pass catcher at the tight end position, Flynn’s Raider career might start out as a nightmare. Former wide receiver David Ausberry is the favorite to win the starting job but he must show that he can block before he gets any playing time. If Ausberry were to improve his blocking, expect him to put up big numbers this season. Rookie Mychal Rivera also has a chance to start at tight end, although he is not a great pass catcher. He is probably the most well rounded tight end on the team.
It will be of upmost importance that Darren McFadden stays healthy this season. If McFadden were to return to his old form under the new power-blocking scheme, Flynn will have more room to make plays for the passing game. Expect the backfield of McFadden and Marcel Reece to thrive with Flynn at the helm of the offense. Both McFadden and Reece have shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield so it would not surprise me if they both put up career reception numbers this year.
Although Flynn is the favorite to win the starting job, don’t count out rookie Tyler Wilson or super-athletic Terrelle Pryor to beat Flynn out in training camp. If Flynn performs well in pre-season and training camps, he will get the chance to show the world he can finally be the leading man.
Jorge Contreras is an Oakland Raiders writer for RantSports.com. Follow Jorge on Twitter @jraycontreras