Matt Flynn played well enough to keep the Green Bay Packers in the playoff hunt last season, but will it be enough to keep the veteran quarterback in Green Bay going forward?
His new position coach, Alex Van Pelt, doesn't see why not? At least, if the 28-year-old Flynn is interested in re-signing with the Packers rather than trying to compete for a starting job elsewhere in the NFL.
The 2013 season was a turbulent one for the former seventh-round pick. He was traded from Seattle and released in Oakland and Buffalo before resurfacing in Green Bay on Nov. 12.
Flynn went 2-2 as a starter, generated an 86.1 quarterback rating and guided late comebacks over Atlanta and Dallas in must-win situations. Entering his seventh NFL season, he faces an important decision.
The Packers liked what they saw from third-year pro Scott Tolzien, but the way Flynn responded after being thrown into the starting job two weeks after his return impressed Van Pelt, who was coaching running backs at the time.
“I think Matt has a great track record,” Van Pelt said. “It's very tough to operate as a quarterback in this system with all the flexibility you have to be able to change plays at the line of scrimmage. Having an understanding of the system is huge for him.
“The way he fits in the locker room, especially in the quarterback room. The things he does to get Aaron ready to play on Sundays are little things that are hidden sometimes when you're looking at guys, so I'm excited to hopefully get him back in there.”
Flynn agreed to a prorated one-year, $715,000 contract when he signed in November, leaving Tolzien ($645,000) as the only other quarterback under contract for next season.
Tolzien, 26, was signed to the Packers’ practice squad on Sept. 1 after they parted ways with three backup quarterbacks – Graham Harrell, B.J. Coleman and Vince Young – in the span of seven days.
Van Pelt and former quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo remember Tolzien pulling several late-night study sessions at Lambeau Field to catch up on the terminology, cadence and playbook.
Tolzien exhibited a better arm than Flynn in the three appearances he made, but had only one passing touchdown and five interceptions, and was benched in favor of Flynn against Minnesota on Nov. 24.
One thing Van Pelt believes will benefit the former Wisconsin standout greatly is being able to take part in coach Mike McCarthy’s quarterbacks school, a program in which Van Pelt participated more than 20 years ago at the University of Pittsburgh.
“I like Scott. I think Scott is a tough, tenacious guy who has a presence to him,” Van Pelt said. “He's a natural leader. His work ethic is sensational. … Obviously he's a self-starter. Physically, he has the physical tools to be a player. This system is complicated for a quarterback, so I think he'll grown in another year of the system and understanding all the adjustments. Those will just help him.”
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