INDIANAPOLIS – Brian Billick is a Matt Flynn fan, but the former NFL coach and FOX Sports NFL analyst did caution teams who might sign the Green Bay Packers backup quarterback as an unrestricted free agent.
Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, Billick, the former Baltimore Ravens coach who also works as an analyst for NFL Network, said buyers should beware of Flynn, despite his record-setting 480-yard, six-touchdown performance in the regular-season finale against Detroit on New Year’s Day.
Billick was the color analyst for that game at Lambeau Field, where the Lions were still in contention for the No. 5 seed in the NFC, which would have meant a first-round matchup with the New York Giants instead of the New Orleans Saints.
“(It was) against a team that was highly motivated, and pretty good. It wasn’t a game that came against a team that was lying down,” Billick explained. “And he had to keep up with (Lions quarterback) Matthew Stafford, who had a pretty good game as well.
“The problem is, we’ve been down this road too many times, with a player who had a limited database.”
Indeed, teams that have acquired backup quarterbacks and made them starters have found mixed results.
“The Cody Carlsons, for those that want to go back. The Rob Johnsons,” Billick said, recalling two backups who bombed as starters. “Now, we’ve had some players – whether it be a Matt Hasselbeck, whether it be a Matt Schaub – that have gone on and been pretty good. But it’s a roll of the dice because you have a limited amount of data.
“It’s not unlike Cam Newton (coming out of Auburn). The tough thing for Cam Newton was you had the one year, you had 270-plus throws of which about 20 percent were applicable to the NFL. That’s not a lot of database. Compared to an Andrew Luck (of Stanford), or RG3 (Baylor’s Robert Griiffin III), they’ve got a lot of throws that extrapolate into this league.
“So, I’m much more comfortable in making that assertion than I was with Cam Newton.”
Still, Billick did give Flynn a positive review.
“You like what you see in a Matt Flynn,” Billick said. “Does it extrapolate? What happens on the entire season? We’re going to see all of Matt Flynn in 16 games. Yeah, you’re going to have to pay for that. But what you have to pay versus the risk on a draft choice and some of the other options, probably a pretty good risk. But it is a risk. Pay your money and take your chances.”
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