RENTON — This is not how Matt Flynn pictured this week playing out. Not at all.
When Flynn signed with the Seahawks back in March, most people assumed — incorrectly it turned out — that he would be Seattle’s starting quarterback no matter how much Pete Carroll talked about competition. So when the schedule came out a month later, it was easy to look at Seattle’s Monday Night Football showdown against Green Bay and see the story line unfolding: Flynn, the backup to Aaron Rodgers for four seasons in Green Bay, would be taking on his former team having finally gotten the chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Then Russell Wilson happened.
Even if nobody outside the Seahawks organization believed Carroll was running a truly open competition, that was exactly the case, and while Flynn was solid throughout training camp and the preseason, Wilson was spectacular, leading Carroll to pick the rookie as his starter despite the $10 million in guaranteed money given to Flynn to sign with Seattle.
So instead of preparing to go head-to-head with Rodgers this week, Flynn is pretending to be Rodgers in practice while helping run the scout-team offense.
Flynn obviously isn’t happy in the backup role, but he’s also not going to rock the boat this week or any other week.
“It’s not my decision to make,” he said. “I’m proud of the way that I’ve played and picked everything up, and how I handled coming into a new situation. I can’t control anything, I’m just trying to make the team better and make myself better and stay confident.
“I’m always preparing like I’ve got to be ready to go. That’s how my mentality is — I’m ready to go whenever I need to go. That’s how I’m always going to look at it. I still have confidence and I think I could still get the job done if I need to.”
Flynn missed the third preseason game because of a sore elbow and was limited in practice by the injury, but he doesn’t use that as an excuse for losing the competition with Wilson.
“(The injury) has just been more annoying than anything, but I don’t think that played a part in anything,” he said.
Disappointed or not, Flynn has handled being a backup — once again — as well as can be expected according to his coaches.
“He’s responded well,” Carroll said. “I asked him just walking out if it feels different to him and he said he’s fine about it. He’s helping in every way that he can, and he’ll do his best Aaron Rodgers this week and help us in that regard. It isn’t exactly how he had dreamed it, and maybe even us.”
When the Seahawks signed Flynn, Carroll immediately said that he would have to compete with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson for the job. Even so, it seemed unlikely that the Seahawks would spend that kind of money, knowing what they had in Jackson, if they didn’t expect Flynn to start. Of course, that signing happened before the draft, before Wilson showed up and wowed his teammates and coaches. So now Flynn, a backup for most of his college career, and for all but two games of his NFL career, must continue to wait for his chance to start.
The Packers also figured they would be preparing for Flynn this week when he left in free agency. He was, after all, the top quarterback on the market not named Peyton Manning, and had put up huge numbers in his two NFL starts.
“When Matt decided to sign with Seattle, I definitely felt from my experience with Matt that we’d be playing against him come Week 3,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on a conference call. “There’s no question about that.”
Flynn is excited to see his former teammates on Monday; he just wishes he was playing against them. It is hardly an ideal situation, but it is one Flynn is trying to make the most of until he gets a chance to play.
“I think he’s done a good job,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “Initially, it was a shock. He took it like any quarterback you would hope would take it. He wasn’t happy about it. It wasn’t how he had expected it to go or how he saw it in his mind, so he wasn’t happy. But once he moved on from that, I think he’s been great for Russ, he’s been great in the room. He’s been helping out any way he can on the sideline. He’s talking to Russ when he comes off. I converse with him as well between series. I think he’s done a good job taking on that second role.”
As expected, left tackle Russell Okung, who missed last week’s game with a knee bruise, was back at practice as a full participant, and Carroll said he expects Okung to play Monday. Receiver Doug Baldwin was a new addition to the injury report, and was limited with a shoulder injury. Carroll did not discuss Baldwin’s injury during his press conference prior to practice. Running back Marshawn Lynch (back) and tight end Zach Miller (foot) also were limited. Cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) was Seattle’s only player who did not practice.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.