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Is Seattle serious about Matt Flynn?

Matt Flynn. REUTERS/Darren Hauck (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Matt Flynn is visiting Seattle this week, but it’s not clear how serious they are about the young free agent.

Flynn has a familiar pedigree coming from Green Bay. After all, that’s the same organization that traded Matt Hasselbeck to Seattle 11 years ago. There’s a little more history, too. John Schneider — now Seattle’s general manager — was in the Packers’ front office when they drafted Flynn in the seventh round in 2008.

But no one should jump to conclusions or characterize Flynn’s addition as imminent. He’s still a largely inexperienced quarterback, and there’s a very real question of just how much the Seahawks will offer a quarterback with two career starts.

Is Seattle convinced enough of Flynn’s potential to offer a deal that is significantly more than the two-year, $8 million contract that Seattle has used as its baseline for a quarterback it sees as a potential starter down the road? That was the contract Seattle signed Charlie Whitehurst to in 2010 before he had attempted a regular-season pass, and it was largely the same deal used to acquire Jackson last year.

Maybe Seattle does see Flynn as a different caliber of prospect, a player worth a significantly higher investment. But a year ago, Seattle wasn’t willing to make the kind of financial commitment that Kevin Kolb got from Arizona or part with the draft picks it would have taken to acquire him, and Kolb had more experience than Flynn.

Pete Carroll hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his quarterback picks so far, but the rest of the team is progressing so maybe the Seahawks will step up here. Miami is also in the mix, and despite conflicting reports, I think the Browns would be interested at the right price. Much will depend on whether Seattle lets Flynn move on after his visit without a signed contract.

I like Flynn and I’m hoping he lands in Cleveland. The kid learned the West Coast Offense under the best in Green Bay for four years, and experience is critical in that offense. This glowing profile from Peter King points out what Flynn has learned and how he made decisions in his epic game against the Lions. Here’s another very positive scouting report.

There’s no guarantee with Flynn, and may bring up that he’s had only two NFL starts, but that’s two more than Andrew Luck and RG3. I’m not saying he’s a better prospect, but the “risk” is mitigated by his apprenticeship in Green Bay under Aaron Rodgers. The key is the size of the contract, and that will be dictated by how many teams enter the bidding.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Sunday Evening Quick-Hitters: Reactions from Week 8 in the NFL

Every Sunday evening throughout the 2011 NFL season I’ll compile quick-hit reactions from the day that was in football. I vow to always overreact, side with sensationalism over rationalism, and draw conclusions based on small sample sizes instead of cold, hard facts. It’s the only way I know how to write…

DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING…

St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson looks downfield after making a reception in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on October 31, 2010. St. Louis won the game 20-10. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

- “If only the Rams could now somehow beat the Saints on Sunday, this would be the greatest sports weekend EVER,” uttered the random St. Louis fan on Friday night after the Cardinals defeated the Rangers in Game 7 of the World Series. How do the previously winless Rams defeat a team in the Saints that just racked up 62 points on the Colts? Well, that’s pretty easy. When you can’t stop Steven Jackson even though you know he’s going to get the ball every down, you lose two turnovers over on your side of the field, and you don’t protect your quarterback, you’re going to lose to most opponents regardless of whether or not they have any wins. The Rams won this game because of Jackson and their defense, which sacked Drew Brees six times and returned one of his passes for a game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter. Chris Long absolutely abused Charles Brown, who should have been given more help because he clearly needed it. The Rams clearly haven’t checked out and they’ll continue to fight every Sunday. That was apparent for anyone who saw Jackson flip out on his offensive line late in the second half following yet another false start penalty. What a sweet first win this was for a city that is on cloud nine right now.

- It’s not really shocking that the 2-6 Panthers lost another game. But considering whom they were playing and given that they were 3.5-point home favorites, it was a little surprising to see Carolina go down in flames to Minnesota on Sunday. Christian Ponder’s 102.7 passer rating and 8.4 yards per attempt were both season-highs for the Vikings, who apparently just should have started the kid from Week 1 and bypassed acquiring Donovan McNabb altogether. Ponder threw for 236 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-28 passing while earning his first career win thanks in large part to Olindo Mare’s inability to hit a 31-yard chip shot. The miss, which came with under a minute left to play, cost the Panthers an opportunity to force overtime. Good thing Carolina GM Marty Hurney spent so much money on Mare this offseason. Dude was totally worth it.

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Report: Matt Hasselbeck done in Seattle

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck runs off the field after losing to the Chicago Bears in the NFC divisional playoff at Soldier Field in Chicago on January 16, 2011. The Bears won 35-24. UPI/Brian Kersey

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is not expected to return to the Seahawks in 2011.

From Rotoworld.com:

Schefter made this statement on NFL Live, and ESPN’s John Clayton — a former Seahawks beat writer — has been saying the same. Charlie Whitehurst is the only Seattle quarterback under contract, and OC Darrell Bevell’s ties to free agent Tarvaris Jackson could lead to another offseason addition. Neither Whitehurst nor Jackson is a starting-caliber quarterback, however.

Interesting that a report like this would come out two weeks after the Seahawks failed to address their need at quarterback via the draft. As Rotoworld points out, Whitehurst will have the opportunity to earn the starting job but one has to believe that Pete Carroll will make a run at Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton or Vince Young when/if they become available when/if the lockout is lifted. (Palmer would make the most sense because of his ties to Carroll at USC, but he’s not the long-term fix the Seahawks need so Seattle may take a pass if Cincinnati makes him available.)

If Hasselbeck is indeed done in Seattle, the Dolphins may be a fit. The Redskins could also be interested too, as Hasselbeck is familiar with Mike Shanahan’s system having played 13 years in the West Coast Offense.

Rams offense fails to execute, Seahawks first losing team to make playoffs

St. Louis Rams starting quarterback Sam Bradford (8) is pressured by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Raheem Brock during the second quarter of their NFL football game in Seattle, Washington, January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Robert Sorbo (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Here are five quick-hit thoughts on the Seahawks’ playoff-clinching 16-6 win over the Rams on Sunday night.

1. Did a losing team really just make the playoffs?
I know Seattle fans are excited that their team just made the playoffs. They should be. I would be excited too if the Seahawks were my team. But it’s disgusting that a 7-9 team just qualified for the postseason and will host a game next weekend. The Giants and Bucs each won 10 games this year and they’ll be watching the playoffs from their couches next week. The Seahawks finished with only one more win than the Lions, Cowboys, Redskins, Vikings and 49ers. Think about that for a second. Think about how bad the 49ers, Vikings and Redskins were at times this season and they finished with just one fewer win than Seattle. In terms of competitiveness, this can’t be what the NFL wants. Regardless, the Seahawks are in and that’s all that matters. When they play the Saints next weekend, the regular season records won’t matter.

2. One team played to win tonight and the other didn’t.
Criticize the Seahawks and their record all you want but at least Pete Carroll’s squad went for it on Sunday night. They started their backup quarterback but as Al Michaels and Cris Colinsworth said throughout the broadcast, Jeremy Bates removed the shackles from Charlie Whitehurst and let him play. Granted, Michaels and Colinsworth made him out to be Dan Marino but there’s no denying Whitehurst stepped up with the playoffs on the line. The Rams, on the other hand, played true to Steve Spagnuolo’s conservative nature and tried not to lose. I don’t know if it was him or it was by design, but Sam Bradford threw most of his passes under 10 yards and rarely tested Seattle’s shaky secondary. Not much separated these two teams at kickoff, yet one made plays when it had to and the other one didn’t. The Seahawks aren’t very good but they approached this game as if it was the last one they would play this season. As it turns out, it won’t be.

3. Rams’ offense fails to execute.
The Rams’ offense was putrid tonight. Bradford and Pat Shurmur played things way too conservatively and the results were disastrous. On a night when two touchdowns and a field goal would have won the game for St. Louis, the Rams produced seven three-and-outs and racked up just 184 yards of total offense. Michaels noted how Steven Jackson only had seven carries at halftime but the Rams only ran about eight plays in the first half. The Rams never got into a rhythm and therefore, could never get Jackson rolling. Bradford wasn’t very accurate and even when he delivered a catchable ball, his receivers would drop it. How many first downs did the Rams fail to pick up because their receivers couldn’t make a play? You could see the wideouts’ confidence shrink as the night wore on and after Bradford threw that horrible pick midway through the fourth quarter, the entire team shut down. Their defense played well enough to win, but the offense never gave them a chance. This team also settled for field goals when it got inside the red zone all season long and what happened against Seattle? They settled for field goals on their two trips inside the red zone. How frustrating.

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Seahawks’ playoff hopes rest on Charlie Whitehurst

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 19: Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst  of the Seattle Seahawks looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons at Qwest Field on December 19, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks’ season comes down to Sunday’s game against the Rams. Beat St. Louis at home and win the worst division in football. Lose and watch the Rams get destroyed by the Saints or Falcons next weekend.

The choice is yours, Seahawks.

With Matt Hasselbeck dealing with a hip injury, coach Pete Carroll told the media on Monday that the Hawks are planning to start backup Charlie Whitehurst. Hasselbeck won’t practice and would be a game-time decision, so it makes sense for Carroll just to get Whitehurst ready and to start him. (If Hasselbeck is deemed healthy enough to play, he can still suit up and be Whitehurst’s backup.)

Given how poorly Hasselbeck has played of late, the Seahawks may benefit from playing Whitehurst, even though the former Chargers’ signal caller hasn’t been very productive himself this season. He’s completed just 55% of his passes (35-of-63) on the year for 315 yards and one touchdown. He’s also thrown three interceptions and despite giving the Seahawks a shot of life off the bench against the Falcons two weeks ago, he was horrendous in his only start versus the Giants earlier in the season.

The good news is that Whitehurst is more mobile than Hasselbeck and therefore can buy himself extra time by moving around in the pocket. The bad news is that he isn’t accurate and can kill drives with the best of ‘em. He’ll face the 20th ranked pass defense in the NFL on Sunday, but any secondary can look good when the opposing quarterback only completes 55% of his passes. But at least he’ll be at home.

Whether or not the Seahawks win on Sunday, at least Carroll will have the opportunity to evaluate his quarterback position. If Whitehurst is a disaster again, the Hawks may need to draft a quarterback next year or retain Hasselbeck for at least another season. If he plays well on Sunday and again next week in the playoffs (assuming Seattle beats the Rams), then maybe Carroll will feel comfortable turning the offense over to Whitehurst in 2011.

This will be a huge week for Whitehurst.

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