Last season’s record: 4-12
Key players released: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, S Michael Huff, DE Dave Tollefson, DT Tommy Kelly, LB Rolando McClain (later retired)
Key free agents lost: LB Phillip Wheeler, DT Desmond Bryant, RB Mike Goodson, DE Matt Shaughnessy, TE Brandon Myers, P Shane Lechler, S Mike Mitchell
Key free agents re-signed: CB Joselio Hanson, DE Andre Carter, T Khalif Barnes
Key free agents added: LB Kaluka Maiava, DT Pat Sims, DE Jason Hunter, LB Nick Roach, LB Kevin Burnett, DT Vance Walker, T Alex Barron, CB Tracy Porter, S Usama Young, CB Mike Jenkins, RB Rashad Jennings, S Reggie Smith, P Chris Kluwe, WR/KR Josh Cribbs, S/CB Charles Woodson
Key players traded: QB Carson Palmer
Key trade additions: QB Matt Flynn
Rd. 1 (No. 12 overall)… D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
2 (42)… Menelik Watson, T, Florida State
3 (66)… Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
4 (112)… Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
6 (172)… Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado
6 (181)… Latavius Murray, RB, Central Florida
6 (184)… Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee
6 (205)… Stacy McGee, DT, Oklahoma
7 (209)… Brice Butler, WR, San Diego State
7 (233)… David Bass, DE, Missouri Western
Analysis: The Matt Flynn experiment moves from Seattle to Oakland as the Raiders try to finally bring about some stability at quarterback and recapture a sliver of their glorious past.
The Raiders traded a pair of draft choices to the Seahawks for Flynn, the one-time backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay who’d gone to Seattle last year as the presumptive starter but was beaten out for the starting job by rookie Russell Wilson. That didn’t seem to bode well at the time for Flynn’s NFL future. But, in retrospect, there certainly is no shame in losing a job to a player as gifted and immediately successful as Wilson, and now Flynn gets another shot at being the starter in Oakland.
He made two starts for the Packers, including the dazzling 2011 regular season finale in which he passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Detroit Lions. The Raiders traded Carson Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals after getting Flynn, clearing the way for Flynn to be the starter entering the season. Still, Oakland used a fourth-round draft choice on Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, perhaps creating an unwelcome flashback for Flynn after Wilson was selected in the third round last year by Seattle. The Raiders also have Terrelle Pryor at quarterback.
Will Flynn succeed, if he indeed is given his chance as the starter? It’s so difficult to say, given the small sample of his NFL work from which to judge. But his starting opportunity alone makes the Raiders intriguing.
Oakland was highly active all offseason, as players left and arrived at a dizzying rate. The secondary, in particular, was remade, with safety Michael Huff released while safety Charles Woodson and cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins were added as free agents. Woodson returned to his original NFL team after being released by the Packers. The Raiders also used the 12th overall pick in the NFL draft on a cornerback, Houston’s D.J. Hayden.
It is probably unrealistic to expect the Raiders to vie with Denver for AFC West supremacy, and even contending for a playoff spot might be beyond their immediate capabilities. But returning to respectability is a realistic goal, and much could depend on whether Flynn turns out to be a legitimate NFL starter.
Why Redskins fans should care: The teams play Sept. 29 in Oakland.
Conversation starter: Will Matt Flynn be a capable starting quarterback in the NFL?
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
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