A very interesting story has come to light regarding Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. Rumor has it that the Packers are set to part ways with Finley at the end of the season.
This is the guy they planned their entire offense around in 2010, and now they’re ready to release him if they are unable to find a trade partner in the offseason?
To be honest, the Packers’ faithful will not miss him. This guy has been a perpetual underachiever. He consistently drops passes from the league’s best quarterback and is a distraction off the field.
Finley simply is does not fit into the Green Bay Packer mold. We Packer fans love to go on and on about the uniqueness of the team, with its fan ownership and smallest market in the NFL, but there is some truth to it. They draft those “high character” guys – guys who put the team first; who look at themselves first when there are problems; who tow the company line; who keep any problems in-house.
Finley is the opposite. When he struggles on the field he says – loudly and repeatedly – that it’s because he’s not getting enough targets, or blames his chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. I don’t think Rodgers and Randall Cobb are braiding each other’s hair on Friday nights, but they’ve found a way to be pretty successful together on the field.
Look at receiver Donald Driver. The 14-year veteran has a healthy opinion of his abilities, but he’s been relegated to the sidelines for most of the season, even when healthy. Yet that guy has not said a word about not getting throws his way. He’s team-first. He keeps his mouth shut, his head down, and works hard during the week. When James Jones, who leads the NFL in touchdown catches, was not targeted even once in a loss to the New York Giants, Jones didn’t air any complaints in the media, but set his sights on the next week’s game.
While prattling on about his chemistry with Rodgers earlier in the season, Finley had the generosity not to put all of the team’s shortcomings on the shoulders of the league MVP: “I don’t put it all on [Rodgers] …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.”
Though the team brushed it aside publicly, I can’t imagine Rodgers appreciated being called “scared,” or his linemen appreciated their teammate pointing his finger at them to the media.
Another uproar was caused when Finley’s agent tweeted that Rodgers wasn’t a “great leader,” and implied that he’s a bad teammate as well. Finley was right when he said his agent’s tweets don’t necessarily reflect his own thoughts, but he sure could have saved the team a lot of hassle and drama if he had been quicker, clearer, and more emphatic in distancing himself from his agent’s words.
You can almost put up with his constant chatter and pot-stirring comments if he were producing on field, but he’s not. Though he’s cut down on his drops in recent weeks, he is not a go-to guy. My biggest problem with Finley has always been his terrible blocking. As a tight end, it’s kind of a huge part of your job to excel in the blocking game. I just can’t understand why all the much smaller Green Bay receivers are so much better at blocking than he is, unless it’s simply a question of effort, which I believe it is.
With Cobb’s star rising, and the consistency of Jones and Jordy Nelson, the Packers’ receiving group could live without Finley. His absence would also give more time to tight-ends like Tom Crabtree, Ryan Taylor, and Andrew Quarless, who would be returning from injury next season. Those tight ends don’t pose real threats as receivers, but they’re strong blockers, particularly Taylor.
It’s hard not be frustrated with Finley’s wasted potential, but the team can no longer sit around waiting for the light to come on for him. It’s not going to happen. The Packers wouldn’t miss him, the fans sure wouldn’t, and his contract money could go to other needs, like making a viable offer to Greg Jennings. Good riddance to Finley; let him be someone else’s problem.