BY Art Thiel 06:56PM 03/18/2012

Thiel: What’s Flynn’s deal? Be better than OK

Flynn seems an upgrade over Jackson, although the evidence is scant; there’s lots of quarterbacks in Seahawks and NFL history who fit into the great middle of QBs that are good, not great.

Through no particular fault of his own, Tarvaris Jackson's NFL future just got a lot more complicated. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Here’s the sweet part for Seahawks fans: Getting a better quarterback at a cost of no draft choices.

Here’s the sweat part: He may be closer to Dave Krieg than Matt Hasselbeck. But he is obliged to be better than Tarvaris Jackson, otherwise John Schneider is going to go through a lot of stomach lining. And pray the new guy doesn’t have to be better than Peyton Manning twice a year with San Francisco.

There is some trepidation about Matt Flynn, for a reason beyond the fact that he’s made only two NFL starts: The same guys who brought Seattle Charlie Whitehurst also are saying trust us, we think Flynn has the map to football Valhalla.

That’s not quite like selling airship tickets the day after the Hindenburg explosion, but feel free to supply your own analogy.

Mind you, being a comparable to Krieg isn’t a diss — Mudbone threw for more than 38,000 yards in a 19-year NFL career,  the first 12 of which were in Seattle, seven as a starter, and is a member of the team’s Ring of Honor.

He finished with a career QB rating of 81.5. Hasselbeck in 13 seasons is 82.2. Jackson, playing injured in his first year with a new team and without benefit of mini-camps and a full training camp, was 79.5.

Yes, QB rating is a single, narrow measure of quarterback impact. Still, it’s worth something as a range finder. Flynn’s rating is 92.8, but if that were truly indicative of his skills, he would have received much more than the $26 million ($10 million guaranteed) over three years he received Sunday from the Seahawks, according to ESPN.com. (FYI, Manning, who is still a free agent at this writing but was reportedly talking to Jor-El on Krypton Sunday evening, is a career 94.9 guy.)

Speaking of narrow, that’s the descriptive difference between most starting quarterbacks not in the top half-dozen or so in the NFL. As you have undoubtedly read by now, Flynn looked great in the two games he started in the four seasons he backed up Aaron Rodgers (104.1 QB rating) in Green Bay. But by the time he finishes his three years in Seattle, chances are his QB rating is going to hover in the mid-80s.

Not a crime, or even a shame. Just not the stuff of comic books. And that was always Krieg’s curse. No matter how many 300-yard games he threw, he was always one soap-dish, backwards pass from derision, contempt and degradation.

A little bit like Jackson in his first season. A little bit like Hasselbeck in his first couple of seasons in Seattle. But eventually, Hasselbeck earned sufficient chops with teammates, opponents and Seattle fans to survive the bad interception, “whirlybird” chuck, muddled drive, dubious game or even a below-average season in a ruthless industry.

The football fan’s lust for a savior at QB is a powerful, terrible thing. Everyone knows the importance of the position; far fewer understand the patience required for most QBs most of the time. It’s not fair to say that the Seahawks have quit on Jackson, but it is fair to say that NFL life isn’t fair, at least in terms of patience.

I think Jackson exceeded expectations, particularly as a newcomer with a lockout-shortened warmup, and deserved a shot to start in September, which will be said to be true, only it won’t be — Flynn has the contract, and won’t have the stigma of Jackson’s fourth-quarter mess-ups that cost the Seahawks, a team that lost five games by six points or less.

Given all the injuries to the Seahawks, including Jackson’s own torn pectoral muscle, it’s difficult to sort blame for the close-call defeats. But there is no doubt that Jackson and, ahem, Whitehurst combined to beat the Giants, the eventual Super Bowl champions, in New York, 36-25.

Ascribe it to the same inexplicable freakishness that allow Julia Roberts to marry Lyle Lovett, but funny things happen in love and quarterback-picking.  Can’t know.

Kudos to the Seahawks for not over-committing to Manning nor Flynn — $10 million these days is a manageable amount. And it frees up the draft to fill needs with players who can make immediate impact.

For Flynn sake, let’s hope the followers are few who are ready to shove him down the stairs at first flop, where he will make musty contact with Krieg and Jackson, guys who are still scratching their heads about how they attracted so many shoves when so many others played the game too.


YourThoughts

  • Hammtime

    “But by the time he finishes his three years in Seattle, chances are his QB rating is going to hover in the mid-80s.”

    I think we would take that wouldn’t we? Of course we’d love that number to be above 90 too….

    • Artthiel

       Hamm, most fans would take it; just didn’t want people to expect 92-rating miracles.

  • Hammtime

    “But by the time he finishes his three years in Seattle, chances are his QB rating is going to hover in the mid-80s.”

    I think we would take that wouldn’t we? Of course we’d love that number to be above 90 too….

    • Artthiel

       Hamm, most fans would take it; just didn’t want people to expect 92-rating miracles.

  • Dusty827

    Flynn has started only 2 games, but has played in 34 in the time he’s been with the Packers. So he has tons more NFL experience to what Matt Hasselbeck had when he came to the Hawks under Holmgren. In fact, Hasselbeck had no starts and only exhibition game experience at GB. As long as Flynn is just steady and not a liability, I’ll be very happy. This team is a run first offense, sprinkled with the passing game, not the other way around, and the QB doesn’t have to be the star. Great deal Seattle!

    • Artthiel

       Flynn in his first year will be able to manage the game, and not necessarily have to win it. Except for th SF games, which Pete wants bad.

  • Dusty827

    Flynn has started only 2 games, but has played in 34 in the time he’s been with the Packers. So he has tons more NFL experience to what Matt Hasselbeck had when he came to the Hawks under Holmgren. In fact, Hasselbeck had no starts and only exhibition game experience at GB. As long as Flynn is just steady and not a liability, I’ll be very happy. This team is a run first offense, sprinkled with the passing game, not the other way around, and the QB doesn’t have to be the star. Great deal Seattle!

    • Artthiel

       Flynn in his first year will be able to manage the game, and not necessarily have to win it. Except for th SF games, which Pete wants bad.

  • Old Dog

    I’m in for Flynn. When comparing Krieg and Hasselbeck keep in mind the brutal division the AFC West was during Krieg and Chuck Knox’s tenure vs the NFC West (light). If we have a scrapper like Krieg was – it will be outstanding!

    • Artthiel

       Old dog, good reminder about the AFC West. Flynn has some Mudbone in him.

  • Old Dog

    I’m in for Flynn. When comparing Krieg and Hasselbeck keep in mind the brutal division the AFC West was during Krieg and Chuck Knox’s tenure vs the NFC West (light). If we have a scrapper like Krieg was – it will be outstanding!

    • Artthiel

       Old dog, good reminder about the AFC West. Flynn has some Mudbone in him.

  • jafabian

    It’s Hasselbeck all over again.  Flynn will be given the chance to start but most likely he’ll split time with Jackson and be expected to simply learn the offense.  Hard luck for Jackson as that towards the end of the season things started to click but the first half of the season he looked like he was forcing things and the last game of the season didn’t look too good for him either.  We’ve seen from the fact that Jim Mora was canned after only one season as well as GM Rich Cho with the Blazers that Paul Allen has limited patience nowadays.

    • Artthiel

       The point about Allen is well taken, jafabian. No green bananas for this dude.

  • jafabian

    It’s Hasselbeck all over again.  Flynn will be given the chance to start but most likely he’ll split time with Jackson and be expected to simply learn the offense.  Hard luck for Jackson as that towards the end of the season things started to click but the first half of the season he looked like he was forcing things and the last game of the season didn’t look too good for him either.  We’ve seen from the fact that Jim Mora was canned after only one season as well as GM Rich Cho with the Blazers that Paul Allen has limited patience nowadays.

    • Artthiel

       The point about Allen is well taken, jafabian. No green bananas for this dude.

  • RadioGuy

    As horrified as I was that the Seahawks brought Tarvaris Jackson to Seattle last year, I didn’t think he played all that badly consdering how little time he had to study the offense, had to work with an entirely different set of teammates (including an offensive line that allowed 50 sacks) while playing with a torn pectoral muscle.  If anything, I thought he showed a lot of guts to play with an injury that affected his passing.  I don’t think Jackson’s a Pro Bowl-quality QB, but I wouldn’t hand his starting job over to Flynn before the ink’s dry, either.  Let’s see how Matt plays behind a sack-prone line while throwing passes to the likes of Mike “What Me Worry” Williams first.

    BTW, whatever else can be said about Dave Krieg, his teammates loved him, including his linemen.  Never underestimate that last point.

    • Dennis Shimmel

      T Jack has been in this Offense for six years( with Bevel in Minnesota) , If you can’t figure out how to read a complete field in that amount of time – YOU ARE a back up!

      • RadioGuy

        You mean like Matt Flynn has been for four years in Green Bay?  Yeah, the guy he played behind is a pretty fair quarterback himself, but all I was saying (in essence) is that instead of simply anointing Flynn the starter before he’s even taken a snap in practice, maybe he should go out and EARN it.

        Look, I think signing Flynn was a good move.  He was a winner at LSU and he SHOULD be an improvement over what we saw last year (how could he be any worse than Whitehurst?).  I just favor having the crown all polished up and kept in a nearby closet until Flynn takes the throne on his own merit.

        • Artthiel

          Good research, radio. And all known to Schneider, who made it known to Carroll. As Krieg and Vince Young proved in opposite ways, superior athletic talent ain’t everything. 

    • Artthiel

       Radio, I agree that Jackson exceeded expectations. The fact he did as well as he did behind the young injury-prone line was commendable. Flynn however, stands to profit behind an improved line. T-Jax better get a helluva dinner out of Flynn.

  • RadioGuy

    As horrified as I was that the Seahawks brought Tarvaris Jackson to Seattle last year, I didn’t think he played all that badly consdering how little time he had to study the offense, had to work with an entirely different set of teammates (including an offensive line that allowed 50 sacks) while playing with a torn pectoral muscle.  If anything, I thought he showed a lot of guts to play with an injury that affected his passing.  I don’t think Jackson’s a Pro Bowl-quality QB, but I wouldn’t hand his starting job over to Flynn before the ink’s dry, either.  Let’s see how Matt plays behind a sack-prone line while throwing passes to the likes of Mike “What Me Worry” Williams first.

    BTW, whatever else can be said about Dave Krieg, his teammates loved him, including his linemen.  Never underestimate that last point.

    • Dennis Shimmel

      T Jack has been in this Offense for six years( with Bevel in Minnesota) , If you can’t figure out how to read a complete field in that amount of time – YOU ARE a back up!

      • RadioGuy

        I’m totally changing my last post here questioning some of Flynn’s credentials. I did some digging, and found this is a guy who played his last four games of high school football in Texas on a broken foot. Guts? Check. Then redshirted one year and sat three more at LSU before becoming a fifth-year starter. Patience? Check. Took LSU to a National Title in 2007, including road wins in hostile environments at Alabama and Ole Miss and winning Offensive MVP in the BCS title game. Ability to perform under intense pressure? Check. Coming into his first NFL training camp as a seventh-rounder and beating out a more highly regarded second-rounder (Brian Brohm) for the backup job in Green Bay. Desire? Check.

        I’ve changed my take on Flynn: He may not be the starter in September, but I won’t be surprised if he’s starting by December. He won’t necessarily be pretty to watch, but he’s got the kind of grit that finds a way to win.

        • Artthiel

          Good research, radio. And all known to Schneider, who made it known to Carroll. As Krieg and Vince Young proved in opposite ways, superior athletic talent ain’t everything. 

    • Artthiel

       Radio, I agree that Jackson exceeded expectations. The fact he did as well as he did behind the young injury-prone line was commendable. Flynn however, stands to profit behind an improved line. T-Jax better get a helluva dinner out of Flynn.

  • http://twitter.com/appctrllrdocs appcontrollerdocs

    You know, “the same guys who brought Seattle Charlie Whitehurst ” are ALSO the same guys who brought us Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Russell Okung, Earl Thomas….

    • someknucklehead

      Noted, but evaluating a QB vs a DB or RB is like evaluating a wine vs evaluating a cigar. Not the same thing….

    • Artthiel

       True dat, app, but QB selection is often the defining act of an NFL front office. The Whitehurst selection, then and now, was baffling, and suggestive of a blind spot. 

  • http://twitter.com/appctrllrdocs appcontrollerdocs

    You know, “the same guys who brought Seattle Charlie Whitehurst ” are ALSO the same guys who brought us Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Russell Okung, Earl Thomas….

    • someknucklehead

      Noted, but evaluating a QB vs a DB or RB is like evaluating a wine vs evaluating a cigar. Not the same thing….

    • Artthiel

       True dat, app, but QB selection is often the defining act of an NFL front office. The Whitehurst selection, then and now, was baffling, and suggestive of a blind spot. 

  • Dennis Shimmel

    Flynn has shown ( in limited appearances) that he can read a defense and the whole field. That by it self is a huge upgrade. Now if we can only get another WR or two and HOPE our O-line can remain healthy and continue to grow this team is definitely headed in the right direction.

    • Artthiel

       Good points, Dennis. The decision-making is what will separate him from Jackson.

  • Dennis Shimmel

    Flynn has shown ( in limited appearances) that he can read a defense and the whole field. That by it self is a huge upgrade. Now if we can only get another WR or two and HOPE our O-line can remain healthy and continue to grow this team is definitely headed in the right direction.

    • Artthiel

       Good points, Dennis. The decision-making is what will separate him from Jackson.

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  • 1coolguy

    Here’s to hoping either QB will operate behind a MUCH improved OL.
    If the OL performs well, it will be a very good season.

  • 1coolguy

    Here’s to hoping either QB will operate behind a MUCH improved OL.
    If the OL performs well, it will be a very good season.

  • Belovedson

    the gamble we took on flynn is the right way of approaching free agents. he has a high ceiling _ matt and costs a little more than backup money. It opens the door to more possibility in the draft. in so many categories we win. reaching for a qb will set us back, most likely. if flynn is a slightly better qb, and we had him last year = maybe, playoff?

    so many fans expect a team to somehow read the future and pick the right franchise qb and that simply does not happen. having a game plan, being smart, and methodical, without panic often results in wins. wins provides a better chance at the super bowl.

    i am not so sure why the hate on the flynn pick up  

  • Belovedson

    the gamble we took on flynn is the right way of approaching free agents. he has a high ceiling _ matt and costs a little more than backup money. It opens the door to more possibility in the draft. in so many categories we win. reaching for a qb will set us back, most likely. if flynn is a slightly better qb, and we had him last year = maybe, playoff?

    so many fans expect a team to somehow read the future and pick the right franchise qb and that simply does not happen. having a game plan, being smart, and methodical, without panic often results in wins. wins provides a better chance at the super bowl.

    i am not so sure why the hate on the flynn pick up  

  • http://twitter.com/kingwabbit Jeff Shope

    I’ll take another Dave Krieg in a heart beat
     

  • http://twitter.com/kingwabbit Jeff Shope

    I’ll take another Dave Krieg in a heart beat