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Raiders' Flynn battles quietly for QB role, respect

The SportsXchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders brought in Matt Flynn in part because of his leadership qualities. Yet Flynn, both on the field and in the locker room, isn't about to force the issue.

As the new Raiders offensive system evolves under coordinator Greg Olson, Flynn has been content to make safe, sure throws and avoid mistakes.

Flynn has thrown lots of passes to running backs such as Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece and located a number of competing tight ends over the middle.

Many of the throws to receivers have been on timed release routes and have been catch-and-run plays, rather than the kinds of throws Carson Palmer would make down the field.

Flynn said it's a matter of time before the Raiders start getting into the deep game that has been synonymous with the organization.

"The way this offense works, we're doing a lot of motions and trying to get favorable matchups," Flynn said. "Right now we're working on a lot of situations where it's third-and-short, stuff like that.

"But there are always deep options. Right now we're just trying to get some completions, not force anything down the field, take what they're giving us."

With the Green Bay Packers, Flynn spent a lot of time talking with former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, who served as Green Bay's color analyst for preseason games and spent a lot of time at the facility because of his friendship with Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

But while Gannon came in and took over with the Raiders with a sometimes brusque demeanor at the behest of coach Jon Gruden, Flynn instead is taking his time -- much as he is with the offense.

"I think when you look at guys who are leaders and look at quarterbacks around the league, everybody has a different style," Flynn said. "Some guys are vocal, some guys are laid back. To become a leader, you need to find that niche -- how you fit the system, fit into the guys in the locker room, and just go accordingly.

"It's something you feel out as you work with the guys and you're around them."

Unlike Gannon, who came to the Raiders as an experienced backup with 58 starts, Flynn has just two NFL starts. With that in mind, Raiders coach Dennis Allen thinks every offseason snap counts.

"Every day he sees a little something new," Allen said. "We've thrown a lot at him, both from an offensive standpoint and what he has seen from our defense. I just want to see him continue to improve and get better. If he focuses on that, the rest will take care of himself."

Expected to be the starting quarterback in Seattle last season, only to be beaten out by third-round pick Russell Wilson, Flynn will need to hold off backup Terrelle Pryor as well as another rookie named Wilson. The Raiders drafted Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas in the fourth round of the draft.

Wilson may already be the best pure passer of the three, but needs experience.

"All I'm doing is playing the best I can," Flynn said. "I'm trying to prepare. Obviously my goal is to be the starter. And I'm going out and doing the best I can to get myself better, put myself in a position to be the starter and be a leader of this team."
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