|After playing behind Rodgers, Flynn's in line for a starting job in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
As is the case most years, the 2012 combine is all about the quarterback. Sure, there are plenty of other players to evaluate but the NFL is a passing league. To win consistently, teams need franchise quarterbacks. (Just take a look at the recent Super Bowl winners for proof -- Eli Manning (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.)
While much of the focus falls on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, there has been plenty of talk about current NFL QBs -- old faces possibly playing in new places in 2012. Peyton Manning tops that list even if no one can speak to when he'll be healthy enough to return to the field.
After Manning, there's Matt Flynn who has often been compared to Kevin Kolb for his lack of on-the-job training followed by what's sure to be a big payday to be some team's starter. The comparisons are probably unfair, especially if Flynn can play in a system that fits his strengths (like, say, Miami).
First things first, though; after the Packers signed tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year deal this week, the speculation was that the organization would then franchise Flynn with the plan to then tag and trade him before March 5.
On Friday, Packers general manager Ted Thompson wasn't interested in speaking in particulars, telling the media that “I’m not going to stand here and tell all the 31 other teams what I think about Matt Flynn.”
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, however, was much more forthcoming.
“Matt’s had a chance to play versus New England (in 2010), versus Detroit (in 2011), so based on what I’ve seen in the every day — classroom, practice field — he’s ready,” McCarthy said via NFL.com. “It’s his time to play.”
“You don’t ever know if that 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,” McCarthy continued. “But until you play the position and go play those 1,100, 1,200 snaps, that’s when you really find out. I think Matt’s ready for that.”
On Thursday, NFL Films' Greg Cosell made the case for Flynn to the Dolphins and it came down to this: "It would make good sense for Flynn to join his former offensive coordinator in Miami. [New head coach Joe] Philbin understands from personal experience Flynn’s strengths and limitations. If he gets the chance, he will take a page from the Bill Walsh book, and cast Flynn in his rightful role: an efficient passer in a multi-dimensional passing game in which the scheme rules, not the quarterback."
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is reportedly "infatuated" with Manning but Sports Illustrated's Peter King thinks Peyton-to-South Beach doesn't make a lot of sense.
"As one GM told me today, problem with Peyton to Miami is Philbin wants to control his team and his offense -- not cede it to Manning," King tweeted Friday.
General manager Jeff Ireland said the organization would be okay with a "short-term solution" at quarterback but added that "Obviously you'd like a long-term solution, but you can do both."
The pool of free-agent quarterbacks is pretty thin. In fact, if you're willing to accept that Manning's future remains uncertain, Flynn is easily Miami's best option. If they agree, then the question becomes whether they can get him for a good price.
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