I know it isn’t a popular thought right now, but go with me here.
Right now, Peyton Manning is all the rage. Everybody from the Chiefs to the Titans have been linked to going after the ex-Indy quarterback. Lost amid the chatter is steal of a quarterback in Matt Flynn.
Wait, did I just say steal? Isn’t he going to command a ton of money during the offseason with his great play this year? Isn’t he going to be the second coming of Aaron Rodgers but in a different uniform? I even heard that he was the greatest quarterback to ever suit up not named Kurt Warner.
Oh wait, yes that is the sarcasm font I’m using.
Matt Flynn is this season’s hottest quarterback commodity. Yes, this is including Peyton Manning. Manning is an injured future Hall of Famer approaching the end of his career. Matt Flynn is a potentially brilliant young quarterback. Flynn is this year’s Kevin Kolb. Flynn is this year’s Matt Cassel.
What am I saying?
I’m saying Matt Flynn isn’t quite as glorious as he’s made out to be.
While Flynn put up some gaudy numbers against the Lions in the final game of the 2011 regular season (31-44, 480 yards, six touchdowns, one pick), he is a high level backup. Rarely, very rarely, do 7th round picks suddenly become perfectly groomed starting quarterbacks.
Remember when Matt Cassel passed for almost 3,700 yards in 2008 and then became a mediocre quarterback in Kansas City? Yeah, me too. Remember Kevin Kolb coming to Arizona to become Kurt Warner x2? Then he posted a 3-6 record in the nine games he started?
If I can think of the problems with other second string wonders, you bet that other teams are thinking the same thing about Matt Flynn. Joe Philbin, ex-Packers Offensive Coordinator turned Head Coach in Miami, is looking hard at Peyton Manning. This is after he orchestrated the brilliant 2011 performance from Matt Flynn. That should be saying wonders to the rest of the league.
But what does this mean for the Jaguars?
It means that the Jags could get a mediocre starting level quarterback or a very high level backup in Matt Flynn. It means Gene Smith can snatch up a high motor guy that can challenge Blaine Gabbert for the starting position.
Gabbert is a competitor. If Gene Smith goes out and grabs a “hot” QB off the market and tells Gabbert that it’s still his job to lose, you bet your a$$ that Gabbert will step up his game to hold his spot. And if Gabbert regresses heavily (hey, it could happen) the Jags know that they now have a backup that can step in and play in real game time (Sorry Luke McCown, but you never could).
Will Matt Flynn be costly? Absolutely. Are there other holes to fill on the roster? Absolutely. But is it worth the investment to develop Blaine Gabbert into the quarterback we all hope he becomes? Absolutely.
The Jags need a solid backup to push Gabbert, and there aren’t very many on the market. A journeyman backup makes sense but would provide a lot of pressure and give the appearance that the Jags aren’t satisfied in the #10 selection from last year’s draft and need a safety net.
The Jags don’t need a safety net, they need a winning game plan. It’s time to stop thinking about how we can stop bad things from happening and instead look to see what can be done to make sure the Jags are always on the winning side of the game.
Matt Flynn is security and progress. It’s a win-win investment. He’ll push Gabbert for a year or two, then he’ll run off to lead the Chiefs when they get tired of Cassel.
I think it makes sense, but I’m just spitballing. Of course, Flynn will want a starting job. So much for my brainstorm.
- Luke N. Sims