I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a fan of Matt Flynn as the Oakland Raiders’ starting quarterback heading into the preseason. After his first outing as the Raiders’ top passer, though, my doubts aren’t as strong.
When the Raiders faced off against the Dallas Cowboys last Friday, Flynn took the field as the starting quarterback and played with the type of confidence we saw in his breakout game with the Green Bay Packers. While the production wasn’t quite what the Raiders wanted from their No. 1 gunslinger, the way he carried himself showed that he’s moving in the right direction.
The most impressive part of Flynn’s performance was his cool in the pocket. When the pressure came, he stepped up into the pocket and delivered the ball with confidence. On one play, when the pocket broke down, he ducked to avoid an oncoming rusher, tucked the ball and picked up what he could before sliding to the ground. He did take a sack and fumbled, but was hit from the blind side from an unabated blitzer.
There still needs to be some progress in the passing department, especially in terms of taking risks. While he completed four of five passes for 37 yards, the majority of his connections came on short passes or check downs. The pass blocking didn’t always help, but Flynn needs to do a better job of taking advantage of his speedy, field-stretching receivers.
Flynn’s performance wasn’t outstanding, but it definitely wasn’t a disappointment either. He didn’t make any mistakes, but needs to make bigger throws. The Raiders need more from Flynn if he’s going to be their starter.
It’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for Flynn to flounder. We’ll see how he progresses through the preseason, but it appears that he’s inching closer to ending any conversations about a positional battle.