Is Matt Flynn a Perfect Fit For the Browns?
In Week 15 of the 2010 season, the NFL got its first real dose of Matt Flynn. The Green Bay Packers’ backup quarterback was filling in against the New England Patriots for starter Aaron Rodgers, who was out with a concussion.
In that Sunday night game at Gillette Stadium, Flynn led the Packers to the brink of victory. On the final drive of the game, Flynn got the offense inside the red zone, but was scrambling with the play calling at the end because they were out of timeouts. He was sacked on the game’s final play and they lost 31-27, but Flynn nonetheless looked impressive, going 24 of 37 for 251 yards passing, with three touchdowns to one interception. His performance caught the eyes of many, and the questions were asked if he’d be the next Matt Cassel and get a starting job for another team.
Fast forward a little over a year to Week 17 of the 2011 season. The Packers, already with home field advantage clinched, sat Rodgers (and several other starters) and started Flynn against the Detroit Lions. The Lions were playing their starters and wanted to win this game because it would have clinched the No. 5 seed for them. In this game, not only did Flynn show he was capable of possibly getting a starting job for another team, he all but signed a contract somewhere.
Flynn went 31 of 44 for 480 yards passing, with six touchdowns to one interception, in a 45-41 shootout victory for the Packers. His 480 passing yards and six touchdowns became new Packers’ franchise records. Flynn showed that he could make all the throws and put up these kinds of numbers at Lambeau Field in cold and windy conditions.
Now, with a little over a month until free agency begins, there are a lot of teams in need of a quarterback that should be targeting Flynn. And one of those teams should be the Cleveland Browns, where Flynn would be a perfect piece to the puzzle at quarterback for the Browns offense. He has sat behind Aaron Rodgers for four seasons now, learning from him and head coach Mike McCarthy, who runs a West Coast offense. Flynn has proved he can run this style of offense.
Currently, the Browns run a West Coast offense under head coach Pat Shurmur, where Colt McCoy is the starting quarterback. McCoy has only played for two seasons, but talks are already out there that McCoy is not a suitable quarterback of the future for the team, and that he has troubles learning and running the West Coast offense. It should also be noted that McCoy received criticism of his potential abilities in the NFL prior to his selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, and he’s also suffered two significant injuries–one to his throwing shoulder during his last game at the University of Texas and a concussion this past season that kept him out a few weeks.
With Shurmur and the new addition of Brad Childress at offensive coordinator, Flynn could prosper as the quarterback of the Browns, especially since he has the skill-set to run the West Coast offense. But the Browns will have to acquire some more offensive talent around him, mainly another receiver, since Josh Cribbs is still more of a return threat than anything, and Greg Little will have a year under his belt and will continue to improve. The offensive line and running backs are good, but not great, and the other receivers are too inconsistent. There are plenty off receivers available in free agency, and the Browns do hold two first-round picks in the draft at No. 4 and No. 22.
The Cleveland Browns and Matt Flynn should be in contract talks once free agency starts. Even though the Browns have a few other pieces to fix in their offense, Flynn would be the perfect place for them to begin with. For the Browns, it should be this simple: get Flynn and the other pieces will fall. Flynn’s shown that he can be a good quarterback during his time as a backup. Now it’s his time for him to be a starter.