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As the Patriots prepare for their Sunday night showdown against the Green Bay Packers, there will be an unfamiliar face at the helm for the Packers. With starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers ruled out, head coach Mike McCarthy announced that Matt Flynn will make his first career start.
To most, Flynn is exactly what he looks like: a seventh round draft pick, career backup, who is simply filing in temporarily for an injured quarterback. However, there’s more that meets the eye in this case.
Flynn’s path to the NFL wasn’t conventional, by any stretch of the imagination. The 4-star Tyler, Texas native fielded offers from big-time college programs like, Alabama, Texas A&M and Purdue. Flynn decided to attend LSU, where he waited for his turn to start. It took three years before Flynn got his chance, as he sat behind JaMarcus Russell.
After an overall strong junior campaign, and terrific Sugar Bowl performance, Russell was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. For Flynn, the 2007 season was his to lead. With an offense that featured Early Doucet, Brandon LaFell, Demetrius Byrd, Jacob Hester, Charles Scott, and Keiland Williams, Flynn was asked to do one thing — and one thing only — manage the offense.
That he did, as Flynn finished the season with 2,407 yards and 21 touchdowns. Unlike Russell, Flynn led the LSU Tigers to the BCS National Championship game, where the Tigers defeated Ohio State in the Louisiana Superdome.
Seen as a “game-managing” quarterback, Flynn was drafted toward the end of the 2008 draft by the Packers. In the same draft class, the Packers drafted Louisville star Brian Brohm in the second round. To the surprise of many, the two battled it out for the backup job in the summer. Flynn beat out the highly touted Brohm, as Brohm’s career went down a slippery slope.
With a couple of years as Rodgers’ backup, Flynn finally gets his chance to show the NFL what he has. Flynn doesn’t have the strongest arm, the best vision, or the quickest feet, but Flynn’s a winner. Despite a poor showing against the Detroit Lions last week, look for Flynn to bounce back after a week of taking first-team reps at practice.
The Patriots have had success of late defensively, but with Devin McCourtey’s status uncertain, Flynn may be able to beat the Patriots in the air. Chevis Jackson, whom the Patriots recently signed but released Saturday, spoke highly of his former teammate at LSU.
“He’s a good guy. He helped us win. He did what he had to do, what the coaches asked him to do. There’s not much else you can say about him. He’s a good competitor. He wins.”
Although to the naked eye Flynn isn’t much, he will give it his best on Sunday night, and don’t be surprised if Flynn leads the Packers past the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.