Known for having an innate feel for the game of football, it’s no surprise that Matt Flynn followed his gut in deciding where he would spend the next three years of his NFL career – competing for the starting quarterback job with the Seattle Seahawks.
“I just really enjoyed it up there – really liked the feeling and everything, the coaching staff and the whole organization,” Flynn said during a conference call with Seattle-area reporters on Monday, a day after agreeing to a three-year, $26 million deal with the Seahawks. “I liked everything about it. It felt very comfortable.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he remembered Flynn from his college days leading LSU to a national title in 2008. But during his Seattle visit last Thursday and Friday, Carroll said Flynn opened some eyes with the Seahawks’ brass with his knowledge of the game and his ability to throw the ball during workouts.
“We brought him in here and he lit it up with the staff,” Carroll said. “He was extraordinary on the board and talking football and expressing where he’s coming from. We were very impressed.
“We went into a throwing session with him and asked him to do a variety of things that we had questions about – from throwing the ball in the pocket, to moving around and putting the ball down the field. He was very impressive.”
Flynn said he didn’t expect to throw while in Seattle, but enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere where he could show what he can do. Flynn also hit it off with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and said Seattle’s version of the West Coast offense is very similar to what he ran with the Packers, although Green Bay places more emphasis on the passing game, throwing the ball 56 percent of the time compared to 51 percent for Seattle in 2011.
Flynn said he had a tough choice to make; he was also considering Miami, where his former Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is now the head coach.
“I am familiar with Coach Philbin and I think a lot of him,” Flynn said. “I think he’s a great person. But when I came up to Seattle I just felt very comfortable with everything. I felt like it was a family environment up there.”
Flynn also confirmed what Carroll said on Sunday – he will compete for the starting quarterback job with Tarvaris Jackson.
“Coach Carroll and I talked about it and he’s big on competition and I’ve always been a firm believer in competition,” Flynn said. “I think it brings the best out of everybody. That’s what I’m looking forward to and it’s something that I can’t wait to get it started and get it rolling.”
Carroll said he’s not ready to name a starter, and will see how things play out during offseason workouts and training camp.
“We now have the opportunity to make it an open competition,” Carroll said. “Tarvaris is well ahead. And he’s the guy that’s here working for us now, and I told Tarvaris when I talked to him yesterday that what we’re doing with Matt is bringing him in here to compete for the job. And he’s going to make everybody better and help our football team.”
One person who had high praise for Flynn was Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who had a hand in grooming Flynn, along with other successful quarterbacks Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Rich Gannon during his time in the NFL.
“Based on what I see in the everyday classroom, practice field, he’s ready,” McCarthy said, when asked about Flynn at the NFL scouting combine last month in Indianapolis. “It’s his time to play. And you don’t ever know. You don’t ever know if a backup quarterback can take that next step and go out and play 16 games.
“I know mentally he’s ready, emotionally he’s definitely ready, but until you play the position and go play those 1,100, 1,200 snaps, that’s when you really find out. And I think Matt’s ready for that.”
McCarthy pointed to the preparation by Flynn as the thing that stood out at Green Bay.