New York Jets: Could Matt Flynn be the answer?
By now, most fans of the New York Jets already know that general manager Mike Maccagnan has signed veteran NFL back up quarterback Matt Flynn. The need to sign Flynn stems from the injury to Geno Smith. Most Jet fans see the signing as a band aid, a temporary roster spot until Smith returns. That is most likely the case but I’ve been wondering, could there be more than what it appears to be?
The quarterback position of the Jets is in a state of flux at best. The assumed starter Smith was playing well early in training camp. All reports had him lighting up the field, making all the throws and apparently making better decisions in the process.
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Camp even saw Smith using his legs when things broke down in his protection. Many Jet fans were ecstatic about his development and were looking ahead to see what he could accomplish with this offense through the preseason schedule. Things were looking bright for the season.
Then came along the $600 debacle that saw Smith get his jaw broken and things went south quickly. Ryan Fitzpatrick was named the starter for the Jets, but it quickly became apparent that the Jets needed someone with NFL experience to back him up. The Jets worked out Flynn at their facility and signed him a day later.
Fitzpatrick is coming off a major leg injury, he missed the early parts of OTA’s and spent most of the summer working with the two’s. Early reports coming from camp had Fitzpatrick looking stiff and struggling to regain his form. The first preseason game against the Detroit Lions, the Jets chose to limit his exposure, playing only briefly and handing the ball off to Chris Ivory more than he dropped back to throw the football.
Fitzpatrick is clearly the starter at this point, but Todd Bowles has preached competition since he arrived in NYC. If he stays true to his philosophy of competitions at all positions, the rest of these preseason games could become rather interesting. Flynn has been a career back up, but so has Fitzpatrick for the most part. Fitzpatrick is an aging veteran, who has health concerns and hasn’t had the best camp of his career thus far.
Flynn backed up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and lost out to Russell Wilson in Seattle. Not bad guys to learn from in my opinion. Flynn has appeared in 53 games in his career, 46 of those games came when he was with the Packers, he has only started 7 games in his NFL career. His career record is 3-4 in his starts. Not spectacular by any means, but Flynn doesn’t need to beat out a Rodgers or a Wilson to win a spot here. He only needs to beat out an aging Fitzpatrick who has injury concerns.
For his career Flynn has been a mediocre quarterback, a career back up who has made a bunch of money. To make it through seven seasons in the NFL though, there has to be a level of talent that teams are comfortable with. The Jets were obviously comfortable enough to sign him to a one-year deal after working him out.
This signing may be nothing more than an insurance policy to ensure the Jets have someone to step in if Fitzpatrick gets hurt. It may be more than that though. Flynn may have the stuff to push Fitzpatrick for the job. Gailey’s system likes to spread the ball around as he likes to hit quick short patterns with multiple receivers.
Flynn doesn’t have the big arm to go deep all the time, but he has been efficient in the short game when he’s been given the opportunity. Flynn holds a 61.3 completion rating for his career, and topped 67% in 2011 for the Packers. He holds two Packers records, when in 2012 he stepped in for a resting Rodgers and threw for 6 TD’s and 480 yards of offense against the Lions.
If Flynn can beat out Fitzpatrick in camp, one has to wonder about Smith. I like Smith, I still believe he holds potential, but he’s yet to prove much during an NFL season. This was supposed to be Smith’s year. He came out this summer, after struggling in the spring and played exceptionally well in camp.
August 11, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
The true test for Smith was supposed to be how he would hold up in game action. Unfortunately, for the fans and coaching staff alike, we never had the opportunity. He remains an unknown commodity. It’s hard to imagine the coaching staff just handing him the ball after he recovers from his broken jaw.
I’m not saying Flynn will be the Jets’ starting quarterback and do amazing things for the team this year. It’s a far fetched idea at best, but strange things happen in the NFL. Flynn has a talent level, and initially it will be facing Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is on the back end of his career, making it a closer competition than most are thinking. I think Flynn might actually have a chance.
So, it once again becomes time for your opinions. Can Flynn give Fitzpatrick a run for his money? Can he beat out a temporary starter? Will Smith reclaim his spot after recovering from injury? Who will the locker room support? Does this have an effect on Bryce Petty’s future?
We here at The Jet Press value your opinions. I enjoy discussing all aspects of football with my readers. So please, leave us a comment below and Let’s Talk Jet Football!
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