Allen: Raiders better with Matt Flynn
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen compared the progress of his new quarterback, Matt Flynn, to that of Matt Schaub and Aaron Rodgers, who have excelled as starters after years as backups to begin their careers.
"I think for Matt Flynn, a guy that's had an opportunity now to be in the league for five years as a backup quarterback, to learn, to grow, to develop, I would say he's not unlike some other guys that you've seen go through the same type of process," Allen said Monday in a conference call to discuss the trade that brought Flynn to Oakland from the Seattle Seahawks.
Allen and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie have personal experience with Schaub and Rodgers to back up that thinking.
Allen was an assistant with the Atlanta Falcons when Schaub backed up Michael Vick before he was traded to the Houston Texans. McKenzie, meanwhile, was with the Green Bay Packers while Rodgers backed up Brett Favre and when Flynn was selected in the seventh round of the 2008 draft.
"We always got along, and I always knew Reggie had a pretty good head on his shoulders," Flynn said Tuesday at a news conference. "Talking with him leading up to this process, it got me excited because he has a vision for where this thing's going. He's a big-picture guy."
"We're excited about the fact that we're bringing in a young guy that we feel like has potential to be a starting quarterback in this league. We're looking forward to the opportunity of having him on our roster and giving him a chance to potentially be that," Allen said.
"I think that should be everybody's expectation, whether you're competing for linebackers, DBs or snapper," Flynn said. "You're expecting to win that job. That's the mental approach I'm going to take to it. I'm here to work, and I'm here to compete and do what I need to do to make this place better."
"I want to be a part of something special, and that's a big possibility here, of building something special, building a winning environment and building a really great organization. That's part of the plan," Flynn said.
Flynn, a backup in college at LSU to former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell, has started only two games in five seasons as a pro. But it's those brief appearances that intrigue many NFL teams. He threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a loss at New England in place of an injured Rodgers late in the 2010 season. He then started the regular-season finale the following season, going 31-for-44 for 480 yards and six touchdown passes in a 45-41 win over Detroit.
The Raiders traded a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a conditional pick in 2015 to Seattle in order to acquire the 27-year-old Flynn, who was Russell Wilson's backup last season in Seattle despite signing a three-year, $26 million contract with the team.
A league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Flynn agreed to restructure his contract, with his 2013 base salary increased from $5.25 million to $6.5 million -- all of which is now guaranteed. In the second year, Flynn's base salary drops from $6.25 million to $5 million. The contract also has incentives and escalators that can take the value to $15.25 million, the source said.
While Allen said Terrelle Pryor will get a chance to compete for the job, his comments made it clear the job is Flynn's to lose. Still, Allen said the Raiders plan to have a package of plays for Pryor to run this season.
Maybe Flynn is the answer
The Raiders have had 15 QBs in the past decade. Since their last winning season in 2002, their QBs rank third from last in passer rating and dead last in completion percentage (55.9) and TD% (3.1). Result: second-worst record in the NFL.
Worst Team QB Passer Ratings Since 2003
|Note: QBs (and number of starts) past 10 years: Kerry Collins, 28; JaMarcus Russell, 25; Carson Palmer, 24; Jason Campbell, 18; Rich Gannon, 10; Josh McCown, 9; Andrew Walter, 9; Bruce Gradkowski, 8; Aaron Brooks, 8; Rick Mirer, 8; Daunte Culpepper, 6; Charlie Frye, 3; Marques Tuiasosopo, 2; Terrelle Pryor, 1; Kyle Boller, 1.|
"Obviously, we feel confident about Matt Flynn as a quarterback and giving him the opportunity to potentially win the starting job. I think we still feel positive about giving Terrelle Pryor an opportunity to compete, and specifically having a package of things that he can do really well and giving him an opportunity. So I don't know that there's a whole lot that's changed as far as the mindset of what we feel like we can do offensively," Allen said.
As for Carson Palmer, the Raiders' starter last season, Allen said the team decided it was time to "move on and move forward."
Palmer put up prolific numbers in his first full season as a starter in Oakland, but that led to little success for the team. He completed 61.1 percent of his passes and threw for 4,018 yards in 15 games -- second-most for the Raiders -- with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Palmer, 33, was traded to the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday.
Allen said he feels the Raiders are a better team with Flynn.
"Yeah, absolutely, we felt like we got better. We feel like as many guys as we can bring in to the building that are looking for the opportunity to compete, looking for the opportunity to prove that they're the type of player we can build around, any time we can get those type of guys in the building, I think it's a plus. I think Matt Flynn's got those type of characteristics," he said.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.