If you’re an Oakland Raiders fan you have most likely seen headlines in the last couple of days that read as follows, “Jaws: Matt Flynn is NFL’s Worst Starting QB” They all differ a bit, but worst is the word that seems to be the common denominator here.
Headlines like this are designed to draw ire from the fans and work the respective fan base into a frenzy.
So why don’t we step back a foot or two and see if Jaworski is really calling Flynn the worst quarterback in the league.
The above headline was used in ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson’s AFC West Blog on June, 24. The blog stated that ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski (aka Jaws) ranked Oakland Raiders’ quarterback Matt Flynn No. 32 out of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
When you really look close at Flynn’s situation, his ranking by Jaws is probably dead on, but does it mean he’s the worst quarterback?
Flynn has started two games in his entire career since being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2008.
Flynn is the only quarterback on Jaworski’s list that hasn’t been a regular starter at some point in his career.
There were reports from Raiders’ beat writers that Flynn struggled during minicamp. Jaws doesn’t really have anything else to judge him by, so is one minicamp grounds for being deemed the worst qb in the league? Probably not, but what choice does Jaws have, the guy simply hasn’t played much, he may not be the worst, but how can you put him ahead of anyone.
Even if Flynn sparkled in minicamp, would his ranking be any different?
With quarterbacks like Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker and even Mark Sanchez ahead of him, fans get a little nervous. We have to face facts here, the aforementioned qb’s are not exactly a who’s who of the NFL’s finest. Again, should Raider fans really be worried about a dead last ranking when he has only stepped between the lines twice as a starter?
Williamson’s blog mentions Flynn’s arm strength as something of a concern, and Jaws talks about it as well. “The more throws I watched, the more his arm strength limitations were evident,” said Jaworski according to Rotoworld.com. “In fact, I was concerned that his few deep balls lost energy at the back end. They had a tendency to die.”
If Flynn’s deep ball dies at the end, yes, that may be a concern. Let’s not forget though, the Raiders plan on running a West Coast type offense and the need for the big arm is not as prominent as in other offensive schemes where the deep ball is a primary focus.
The Raiders had a huge arm at the quarterback position last year in Carson Palmer. How did that work out for Oakland? Not so well, Palmer’s parting gifts to the Raiders as he left town for Arizona were a 4-12 record and bloated stats due to the team being behind in numerous games, causing them to pass more to try and get back into games.
Let’s summarize, shall we? As we approach the 2013 NFL season, Matt Flynn has drawn criticism about his arm strength and ended up dead last on a list ranking all of the NFL’s starting quarterbacks.
Flynn would probably tell you himself that based on the sample size the pundits are using, his criticism is probably warranted.
Being ranked dead last for anything is not a good thing, but in Flynn’s case it may not mean a thing. Let’s get him in the mix as a starter and then the rankings will be recalibrated and we will have a better snap shot to rank the Raiders’ starting quarterback.