Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley spoke again this week about the lack of chemistry between him and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Finley has brought this topic up multiple times so far this season, blaming lack of chemistry for some of the offensive woes. While some argue these comments are not a big deal, I feel otherwise. Let’s run through his comments, shall we?
On his chemistry with Rodgers:
“It’s okay. Not good enough at all. Something to be worked on, and [I] try to work on it as much as I can, try to talk to him as much as I can, but like I said, it takes two people.”
Okay, so Finley starts off by heavily implying that Aaron Rodgers is not putting in the work he needs to for the team to be successful. Is there any other way to interpret this? It sounds like an awkward moment in couples therapy, with Finley saying he’s doing all he can and Rodgers is not even trying!
On if he can play well with his shoulder injury:
“I can, (but) it takes two people to do that … And I need the quarterback on my side, and I need to catch the ball when he throws it to me. So it takes two things to get that going, the chemistry. I feel we need to get that going.”
You need the quarterback on your side? I didn’t know there were sides on a football team other than your team versus the other team. This doesn’t even make sense. Why is Finley trying to sell us on Rodgers being against him in some way? Rodgers’ job is not to make sure Finley gets his stats so that he can cash in a big payday when his contract expires after next season. The quarterback’s job is to win games and, right now, throwing the ball Finley’s way hasn’t really been that helpful in gaining wins.
On new expectations for tight ends:
“I think everybody’s gotten lost in the [Rob] Gronkowski numbers and Jimmy Graham numbers, going for a [1,000 yards] a year … I mean, that’s unheard of. Five years ago, you’d get in the Pro Bowl [as a tight end] at 500 yards. It’s just gotten lost.”
This is true, in many respects. But one thing that seems to be lost on the Packer tight end is that he could have these numbers, too. Finley is built like Gronkowski and Graham. But part of what makes them so successful is their mental and physical toughness. Finley, all 6’5”, 247 pounds of him, is soft. Have you ever seen a guy his size throw weaker, more half-hearted blocks? Have you ever seen a guy his size who gets routinely beat, physically, by 5’11”, 200 pound defensive backs as much as Finley? Have you ever seen a guy his size get fewer yards after the catch?
On why his game has not matched those of Gronkowski and Graham:
“Those guys did have that one hit year when they were rolling and hot, and they had the chemistry going and their quarterback’s trust … [their quarterbacks] threw them the ball 20 times a game. You get the ball 20 times and you catch 10 of them, you should be doing something.”
Yes, they do get the ball more often than Finley. Do you know why? Because they actually do something with it. If Finley were dependable like Gronkowski and Graham, if he were tough like Gronkowski and Graham, I guarantee you that he would be getting the ball at least twenty times a game. But Finley hasn’t earned his quarterback’s trust the way that they have. I’d rather see those twenty balls going to Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones, who I believe work harder for and do more with those receptions. Oh, and P.S., maybe Finley should aspire to higher than a 50% catch rate.
On his own performance:
“I think I’m doing fair. I think I’m doing well, doing what I’m supposed to do. I think I’m giving my all out on the field, for sure. I think I’m doing fair. I’m not doing the best I can do, of course, but hey, who said it was going to be a great year?”
Ummmm, Finley did! All the time. In every interview since training camp. He’s been all YOTTO (Finley likes to talk about this season as “Year of the Take Over” after neither 2010 nor 2011 worked out for him) every chance he gets.
On Aaron Rodgers’ performance:
“I think he’s playing good, but like I said, this is a team sport, and it’s going to take all 11 of us on the field when he’s on the field with us. I don’t put it all on him. It’s his receiving corps, we’re dropping balls; it’s his linemen not blocking for him. He’s got a lot to think about. I would be scared, too, if I was getting hit like that.”
Well, how nice of him to take some of the responsibility. It only seems fair that the NFL leader in dropped passes over the last two years should admit that it’s not all the quarterback’s fault. And in case Finley hasn’t been a terrible enough teammate in this interview, I really admire the way he throws in that last jab, saying that Rodgers is scared. Thanks for throwing that in there, too. I really think that will help with those chemistry issues he’s been talking about. Nothing earns a quarterback’s trust like telling the national media that he’s scared.
Now, Rodgers is not playing up to his usual near-perfect standards, and he admits that. And sure, some of the responsibility for the offensive problems does fall on Aaron, absolutely. He needs to be more accurate, get rid of the ball faster, make smarter decisions. All true. But here’s the bottom line: how does this help, Jermichael? How is airing your complaints in the media making the situation better in any way? He basically just said, It takes two … and I’m doing my part. So Aaron Rodgers is not doing his part? But, upon further examination, Aaron “doing his part,” in Finley’s mind, means throwing to you more often. I won’t assume to know Finley’s intentions, but I will say the perception that comes from quotes like this is that Finley is calling out Aaron Rodgers. Finley is already on thin ice with the Packers faithful and I think he would be best served by talking less and catching passes more.