Flynn: 'I've never been afraid of competition'
ALAMEDA -- If Matt Flynn can dodge defenders the way he did a question about JaMarcus Russell Tuesday, the Raiders' new quarterback should be just fine behind a leaky offensive line, thank you very much.
Flynn, acquired by the Raiders from Seattle for a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft and an undisclosed conditional choice in 2015, met Bay Area media at the Raiders' facility for about 12 minutes.
Following, then, a Q&A with Oakland's presumptive starting quarterback, who figures to be the eighth different starting QB on kickoff weekend since 2004…
Question: How eager are you to get started?
Answer: I’m extremely eager. I’m excited, very humbled and honored to be able to get this opportunity. I’m excited to come to Oakland and really get to work. That’s my main goal. I’m excited. I’m eager to get here and just get rolling, get to knowing the guys, get in the playbook and start to build a team.
Q: Your relationship with Reggie?
A: We definitely go back. He was part of the room that drafted me when I came out. I know Reggie pretty well. We always got along, and I always knew Reggie had a pretty good head on his shoulders and he knew what he was talking about. Talking with him, leading up to this process, it got me excited because he has a vision, a vision for where this thing’s going. He’s a big picture guy. He knows what he wants out of this thing and he knows what he wants out of this thing and it got me excited. It got me definitely wanting this thing to go through.
Q: Joining a franchise on the rocks for the last decade . . .
A: What I’m doing is looking toward the future and I think that future is very bright for the Raiders, and it’s something that I hope I can be a part of and look forward to it. I know they have a great past here, three Super Bowls and everything like that. Growing up, you hear stories about the Raiders and it’s just one of those cherished teams in the NFL. I’m very humbled to be here and getting an opportunity.
Q: How have you developed while not actually getting much playing time? How have you developed behind the scenes?
A: I feel like I’ve developed the skill of getting better and improving with actually not taking that many game reps. I played in a few games. I’ve sat back and I’ve tried to be a sponge. Learning from Aaron Rodgers, learning from coach McCarthy and Tom Clements in Green Bay. I try to learn as much as I could. Spending eight, nine hours a day for four years with Aaron, I picked up a lot of things. I feel like I always tried to make the best of my opportunities, whether that came in practice or in a game situation. I feel like each year, I’ve improved, and what happened this year in Seattle, I feel like it made me a better person, a better player, and has got me more excited about another opportunity.
Q: Feel blindsided last year by Seattle . . . you were `the guy’ there.
A: I didn’t feel blindsided at all by what happened. I came in there knowing that I was going to be in a competition. They never told me anything about, handed me the keys to the car or anything like that, they told me, before I signed my name on the line, I was coming in to compete. I’ve never been afraid of competition. I feel like in my football career I’ve been competing every year in my life, pretty much. It’s something that I embrace and I think it gets the best out of me. Was I blindsided? No, not at all. I knew it was a competition.
Q: Rodgers spent time as a backup, did that help you?
A: Aaron and I are close and we have a good relationship. Once I got there we hit it off and he kind of took me under his wing. We’d always talk, whether it was Xs and Os, whether it was defenses, whether it’s life or being a backup. Whatever it was, we’ve talked about. I learned a lot from him about the mental approach to being a backup. I learned a lot about the mental approach of stepping in to a starting role, being a starter and being a leader.
Q: Any hesitation about coming here?
A: No. Really it really wasn’t up to me when it comes down to it. I can’t wait to get here. I’m excited about it. It’s one of those things where I’m not looking back. I’m just ready to get this thing rolling.
Q: Raiders do like Seattle and say you’re coming in to compete?
A: Absolutely. I’ve had brief conversations with the coach and Reggie and everybody. What they want to do is breed a competitive environment. You breed competition at every position and guys start learning how to win, how to kick, scratch, claw… whatever it takes to win. That’s what I’m excited about. Talking to them, it gets me fired up for what they believe and for what they’re trying to get out of it.
Q: Isn’t it your expectation to come in and start?
A: I think that should be everybody’s expectation, whether you’re competing for linebackers, DBs, snapper. Whatever position you’re competing for, that should be your mentality. You’re expecting to win that job. That’s the mental approach I’m going to take to it. I’m just going to compete every day. The Raiders organization is going to get 100 percent out of me all the time, whether that’s on the field, off the field, in meeting rooms. Whatever it is, they’re going to get all of me. I’m here to work and I’m here to compete and do what I need to do to make this place better.
Q: Third time’s the charm?
A: I don’t know. I don’t. I couldn’t tell you that. But I know that I’m going to give it my best shot . I’m a very confident player. I’m very confident about what I bring. We’ll just see how that plays out.
Q: What’s your style?
A: You’re going to get a smart, disciplined player that doesn’t like to lose and doesn’t accept losing. I’ve always been competitive no matter what it is and no matter what I’m playing. It’s something that I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of some very good teams, championship teams, whether that was in high school, college, the NFL. And I know what it looks like. I know what that mentality looks like in the locker room, on the field, practice field, wherever it is. Hopefully I can bring a little bit of that here.
Q: Cards, checkers, you gotta win, right?
A: I don’t take that too easy.
Q: When was the last time you played on a team with a losing record?
A: First year in Green Bay, we were 6-10.
Q: High school at all?
Q: So one year out of…?
A: I've been pretty fortunate. I've been pretty fortunate, and I guess when you've been on good teams for so long, you just expect it. And I think that's a good attribute to have.
Q: See the irony of JaMarcus Russell?
A: I mean, I really haven't thought about it…too much. Me and JaMarcus came in to LSU together, same signing class and had a good relationship. Still do. But I don't know what's happened in the past, I don't know any of that. I'm here, my first day, and I'm looking forward to the future, I'm looking forward to getting this thing going and start winning games.
Q: When offseason started, looking at other teams, what was your mindset?
A: I was hoping to get another opportunity. I didn't know if it would happen. I didn't know, really what was going to happen because when you're talking about being traded, you don't really have a lot of say-so in much. And Seattle had told me that if they could find the right place for me to get another opportunity, then they would look into it. So I try not to watch too much TV or watch too much ESPN or anything like that. I didn't really know a whole lot of what was going on except for talks with your agent, which is pretty normal. But once this thing started rolling and once I started talking-to people from the organization I was wanting to get this thing done and get here.
Q: Talked to Greg Olson yet?
A: I met briefly with him; really haven't talked X's and O's yet. Just getting to know him a little bit. I look forward to getting in the book and getting up here.
Q: You realize this is a process and they are going to ask you to be part of a rebuilding process?
A: Yeah, it's something that fires me up. It's something that really makes me ready to get here because I want to be a part of something, be a part of something special and I really think that is a big possibility here -- of building something special, building a winning environment and building a really great organization. I think that's part of the plan and like I said, I'm very humbled and I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and to be a part of that.
Q: How long before you become a regular presence at the facility here?
A: I don't know. Me and my fiance will be flying back up here next week and trying to get settled in, get a lay of the land, and find a place to live. And then once that happens, I'll be here.
Q: Maybe a couple of weeks?
A: Yeah, maybe. Maybe next week. This all happened so fast. I flew out of Baton Rouge at 2, and I didn't know I was flying out of Baton Rouge until like 11, 11:30 in the morning. So it was like, all right, get your backpack and get on a plane.