Each week throughout the season, PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush hooks up with a personality who has connections with the Packers and asks him five Packer-related questions. This week, Dan connects with Packers play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee, who also co-hosts PFW's nationally syndicated radio show along with PFW editor/publisher Hub Arkush
1. Just how good is Matt Flynn? With a shot as a starter elsewhere, is he immediately an above-average (top-15) QB in your mind?
Larrivee: Matt Flynn came to Green Bay with all the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. He is not JaMarcus Russell (the No. 1 overall pick by the Raiders in 2007), who won the national championship at LSU. Mike McCarthy and QBs coach Tom Clements spent the last three years building Flynn much like they did with Aaron Rodgers. The product was on display last year in New England in a near-upset of the Patriots and in a record-setting performance against the Lions in the wind last week in Green Bay. The football people tell me Flynn is ready to be a top-10 QB in the NFL. He proved Sunday in the elements that he can make all the throws on a raw afternoon.
2. What are your thoughts on the possibility of the Packers franchising Flynn with the idea of trading him and getting something for him in return? My sources have told me the team is almost certain to franchise Jermichael Finley.
Larrivee: First off, the league would technically have to look the other way. As I understand it, you can not trade a player you franchise before that season — or franchise the player with a trade in mind. This is not the "sign and trade" league (that's the NBA). Teams have done that in the NFL, but again, it is technically against the rules. Your sources are right. The Packers will franchise Jermichael Finley. Period.
3. What's your take on the OLB spot opposite Clay Matthews? Is Brad Jones the best bet to start in the playoffs, and even if he does, are we looking at a steady rotation?
Larrivee: The issue isn't who will start, but who will or can play effectively at OLB opposite Clay Matthews. The latest we hear up here is that Brad Jones will start, but this has been a difficult position to solve for the Packers' coaches.
4. I wrote in PFW that Jordy Nelson deserved a Pro Bowl berth over Greg Jennings. What do you think?
Larrivee: They both had Pro Bowl seasons. Jennings missed three games. Otherwise, he would have had a 1,000-yard yard season and double-digit TD receptions. They play the deepest position in the NFL — there are a ton of Pro Bowl-caliber wideouts in the NFL. But none of them play for the Bears.
5. Give me a player to watch for the Packers in the playoffs (i.e., one guy that particularly interests you for whatever reason).
Larrivee: Jermichael Finley. I believe he is ready to break out with mega-numbers in the postseason. It looked to me like they finally got him on track in the Lions game last week. Defensively, I think Clay Matthews (only six sacks this season) will get to the quarterback in these playoffs with regularity. Big-time players play big in the postseason. Despite not having the sack numbers, Clay had his best overall year for the Packers this season. It's nice to see others noticed by voting him to the Pro Bowl because he deserved it.