Yesterday, the Green Bay Packers decided not to release tight end Jermichael Finley, giving him the $3 million roster bonus he was due. This means quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have one of the most athletic tight ends to throw to for one more year, but will Finley live up to his full potential?
This will be Finley’s sixth year in the league in 2013 and he will be looking to improve on his career high in receptions in 2012 of 61. Also, Finley needs to improve his red zone production. Finley only had two touchdowns last season, which was six touchdowns lower from his total in 2011. Athletically, Finley can compete with any tight end in the league; however, he has never been able to put a full season together with all of his talents. For the past few seasons, Finley has been proclaiming “the year of take over” but he has failed to do that, while other tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski keep developing into better players.
What hurts Finley even more is the fact that he runs his mouth a lot off the field. Whether he is proclaiming how great of a season he will have, or questioning Rodgers and the lack of throws coming his way, Finley is always causing some sort of controversy. With his future status with the Packers after this season on thin ice, Finley needs to make sure he finally lives up to his potential or he may find himself with a different team.
With the loss of Greg Jennings, Finley should have more opportunities to make plays. Last season Rodgers threw the ball to Finley 87 times, but that number should go up around 100 this season giving Finley the attention he wants in the offense and a chance to prove that he is worth what he is making in his contract.
Finley should have a big year this season. Now this has been said ever since he broke into the league, but if he can lower the number of dropped passes, Rodgers will have more confidence throwing to him and may make him the number one target on the team. Finley needs to be a bigger presence in the offense this season, raising his total of receptions to at least 70. The Packers have all the skill set they need for their receivers, but if Finley doesn’t perform, the Packers’ offense will continue to not live up to what it is capable of doing.
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