SEATTLE — Matt Flynn came to Seattle to be the starting quarterback, optimistic he would be leading the Seahawks against his former team, the Green Bay Packers, in Week 3 of the season.
The only way he'll get a chance to play against the Packers on Monday night is if the rookie who beat him out for the job, Russell Wilson, is injured or ineffective.
"It's not my decision to make. I'm proud of the way I played and picked everything up and how I've handled coming into a new situation and I can't control anything," Flynn said this week. "I'm just trying to make the team better and make myself better and stay confident."
Flynn signed as a free agent with Seattle because he knew his chance to start would never come in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers at the controls. He signed with the Seahawks, but coach Pete Carroll chose Wilson after the third-round draft pick had a dynamic preseason.
"I'm always preparing like I have to be ready to go. That's how my mentality is," Flynn said. "I'm ready to go whenever I need to go. That's always how I'm going to look at it. I still have confidence and I think I can get the job done if I need to."
Flynn spent the week in practice impersonating his friend and former teammate who he keeps in touch with regularly. Rodgers believed that when Flynn signed with Seattle, it would for sure be his buddy playing against him.
"Excited for him and his opportunity up there but it hasn't gone the way he would have wanted so far," Rodgers said. "But he's a competitor and hopefully he's going to get an opportunity at some point, either there or somewhere else."
The Packers only got brief glimpses of Flynn in his four years as Rodgers' backup. He vaulted to near the top of the free agent list after throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns in the regular season finale last year against Detroit. But he didn't get the massive payday many expected and Seattle's investment of $10 million guaranteed over three years was not so hefty that Flynn would be handed the starting job.
Enter Wilson, who Packers fans are also quite familiar with after he led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl a season ago. And despite spending just one year in the state, he got quite familiar with what Rodgers and the Packers mean.
"It's going to be pretty cool to play against him," Wilson said. "When I was at the University of Wisconsin that is all everyone was talking about - either the Badgers or the Packers."
One player Wilson hopes he doesn't get too familiar with is Green Bay's Clay Matthews, who leads the NFL with six sacks. Matthews tormented Jay Cutler and Chicago's offensive line in Week 2 with 3 1/2 sacks and has only grown as a fierce defender since he left the tutelage of Carroll when the pair were together at USC.
"He has found ways to make plays that are just outside of the norm because he has such relentless effort," Carroll said. "He is just such a fantastic effort guy that it may be the latest moment of a play and he finds a way to twist or spin or get underneath a guy and finish, to make his plays that not everybody can get to because not everyone plays that hard."
Making sure Matthews stays off Wilson's back will be a critical factor for Seattle. In Week 1, Wilson was blitzed constantly by Arizona and ended up on his back more than the Seahawks would like. Those protection problems were far better in Week 2 against Dallas, aided by an improved running game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards, part of the 182 yards rushing by the team.
The Packers come to Seattle trying to solve an offense that has yet to show any of the firepower from a season ago. Green Bay had 46 yards rushing in its opening loss to San Francisco, and Rodgers passed for 215 yards in a 23-10 win over Chicago.
Rodgers started the season with consecutive passer ratings under 100. Dating back to the end of last season, he's failed to top 100 in four of his last five regular-season games. But coach Mike McCarthy believes it's far too early to start worrying about a stumbling offense, which could get receiver Greg Jennings back after not playing against Chicago with a groin injury. He's questionable for the game.
"We're not playing the exact way we want to play yet but we're getting close," Rodgers said. "It's two games. Nobody's panicking; nobody's too worried about it. We obviously want to play better but we're close. We're just a few mistakes away from playing the kind of games we want to play."