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Can the Raiders Even Compete When Matt Flynn Can’t Throw Past 25 Yards?

For the 2013 season, the Oakland Raiders will look to improve from their 2012 4-12 record and try to get back to winning ways. It’s been a long drought–not since their 2002 AFC title run–and change has come with a new general manager Reggie McKenzie, new head coach Dennis Allen and new quarterback, Matt Flynn.

He landed at the Raiders in April from a Seattle Seahawks trade and entered training camp as the likely starting quarterback. So far Flynn doesn’t really have any competition as rookie Tyler Wilson has looked like he’s not ready for prime time and the back up role will likely either go to rookie Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor, who is entering his third season with the team and has been vocal about his desire to be the starter.

For Flynn, who ideally enters the season with a clean slate, apparently has one weakness that recently has pundits and fantasy players expressing their doubts that he can lead this team to be competitive: He lacks success to throw the ball deep.

On Wednesday, Vic Tafur of SF Gate, tweeted, “Flynn just not going to have success throwing longer than 25 yards, been clear all camp. Coaches have accepted that.” He added this was “apparent” as Flynn had been throwing “dump off passes, slants, outs, and curl routes” in camp.

At some point between his LSU and Green Bay Packers’ days, he must have thrown a few balls greater than 25 yards. And if he’s done it before, he can likely do it again when it needs to be employed. But if he can’t do it consistently, what are the team’s other alternatives besides the obvious short passes?

It may not begin with a quarterback change considering Flynn does have the most experience with three starts, so perhaps it’s how the Raiders play their game. Maybe they rely on their running game and hope that this will be the season for running back Darren McFadden.

He’s due for a good one.

With new offensive coordinator, Greg Olson and his power-run scheme, McFadden has previously played in this and found success. But the biggest hurdle for the player may not be his talent but whether or not he can remain healthy. He’s yet to do so since entering the league in 2008. Last season he was out for four games and this season is a contract year.

No pressure here.

For 2013, the Raiders will likely have low expectations for the win side (they should) but Flynn is hungry for a starting NFL role and this job is his to lose. If he struggles, maybe the team can just depend on its defense for wins.

As Bear Bryant used to say, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.”

 

 

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Debbie Baratz

Deb has been writing about the NFL and NCAA football for the last few years. She is a full-time writer and an avid sports fan. Follow her on twitter @ldbar.

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