On many of his 24 completions in the 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Flynn hit his primary receiver and did so within the 2.5-second window that coach Mike McCarthy likes to see the ball come out.
It was when Flynn had to go through his progressions that things broke down.
That’s an area where Flynn must improve this week if he ends up starting Sunday’s game at the Dallas Cowboys. He took the majority of the starter’s reps in practice on Wednesday although in a surprising development, Aaron Rodgers worked with the No. 1 offense for the first time since he broke his collarbone on Nov. 4. Then on Thursday, Rodgers appeared to increase his workload.
Nevertheless, Flynn said he will continue to prepare as if he is starting on Sunday, and part of that preparation includes being more decisive when his primary target is not open.
“I’d have to go back and analyze it, but I can think of a number of [completions] that weren’t [Flynn’s primary receiver],” Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. “But I don’t know what the percentage is.”
Flynn has been sacked 12 times in the past two games, and several of them should be charged to him. On 10 of his 12 sacks, he held the ball for 2.6 seconds or longer, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Flynn’s average time in the pocket is 2.81 seconds compared to 2.67 for Rodgers, according to PFF.
“A lot of those sacks were, a lot of that was on me,” Flynn said. “I think that will start cleaning up the more comfortable I get with what we’re trying to do offensively and the routes and things like that. I think I was getting hung up on a couple receivers and didn’t get [through] all progressions. So a lot of that’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job and take a lot of fall for that.”
Flynn might have it easier this week against the Cowboys, who have the NFL’s worst defense and worst passing defense. They also are 31st out of 32 teams in sacks per pass play.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has pressured with five or more defenders on only 21.4 percent of opponent dropbacks this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. By comparison, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has sent five or more pass-rushers on 38.2 percent. The Cowboys also rank 31st in the league in ESPN Stats & Info’s disrupted dropback percentage (13.2), which is a combination of sacks, passes defended, interceptions and batted balls.
Flynn has been most productive when coach Mike McCarthy has given him the green light to run the no-huddle offense. The Packers made liberal use of that during both of Flynn’s appearances at Lambeau Field – the Nov. 24 tie against the Minnesota Vikings and last Sunday’s win over the Falcons. That seemed to help Flynn’s rhythm and timing.
But McCarthy did not use it at all in the Thanksgiving loss at Detroit. That’s not to say he can’t – or won’t – use it on the road this week in Dallas, but it’s more difficult to do when crowd noise is a factor.
“I thought the no-huddle start was great, the early production [against the Falcons],” McCarthy said. “We did a lot of good things. I think we got out of it what we wanted to. As far as doing it on the road, it differs each and every place. Last time we were in that building [for Super Bowl XLV] it was pretty loud. But I don’t have a feel for being an opponent [of the Cowboys] down there. So all the feedback, obviously it’s a very large stadium, so that’s all part of our plan.”