The Oakland Raiders were far from the worst team in the league last season, yet NBC Sports Pro Football Talk has them ranked dead last in their preseason power rankings. Do the Raiders deserve better than to be ranked No. 32 before the season begins?
The big reason Pro Football Talk has Oakland last in the NFL is because of the departure of veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. There is no question the Raiders made the right move by trading Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals, but many believe his loss will make Oakland uncompetitive.
Obviously, any team in this day and age that does not have a good quarterback will not get anywhere close to making the playoffs. For that reason, many believe without Palmer the team simply cannot succeed. However, the fact is the Raiders do have a very talented quarterback. The organization acquired Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason. Even though Flynn has only started two games in his career, he certainly has proven he has what it takes to be a leader.
Flynn’s first start occurred against the New England Patriots during the 2010 season when he was in relief for an injured Aaron Rodgers. He completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 251 yards and tossed three touchdowns and one interception. Even though the Green Bay Packers lost the game 31-27, many players will say to this day that Flynn’s performance is what sparked Green Bay’s incredible run that eventually led to them winning Super Bowl XLV.
Flynn’s second start of his career came against the Detroit Lions in the final game of the 2011 season when Green Bay decided to rest Rodgers for the playoffs. All he accomplished that day was set the Packers franchise record for passing yards (480) and touchdowns (six). The fact that he was able to do that in the most storied franchise in football is amazing, especially with quarterbacks Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Rodgers lining up under center over the years.
The fact that Pro Football Talk has Flynn listed as a weakness is a joke. I understand his inexperience is a concern, but the guy has sat behind the best quarterback in the NFL for years. There is no question Flynn will make the Raiders far better than people think in 2013.