Focus on Finley – The Playmaker
It was just a week ago that Jermichael Finley was upset about not being thrown the ball enough in the Denver game. Here were his comments:
â€œFor sure, they took me out of the game. I donâ€™t know what I came out with, but hopefully we can go back and dial something up for the double teams. Weâ€™ve got to have something for it.Â Weâ€™ll have to go back, not being selfish or nothing, but go back and dial up something so you can get your playmaker the ball in games like that when itâ€™s close.â€
From reading that quote, one would think that he was totally ignored in that game. Not having seen the game live, it’s certainly the impression that I had. But looking at the game stats told a different story. Finley had been targeted 6 times but caught only 3 for completions.
Fast forward to the Falcons game, which I did see live. Finley appeared to me to be a big part of the game plan. He was thrown to 7 times and caught 4. He did not always display the excellent hands he possesses. In fact, Finley had a particularly egregious drop at the goal line just before the second half, which cost the Packers 4 points. Here it is:
Five out of the seven times Finley was thrown to in the Atlanta game, it was on a third down. Here’s the breakdown:
1st Q, 4:21:Â Â 3rd and 2, complete for 24yds.
2nd Q, 0:18:Â Â 3rd and 12, incomplete (drop at the goal line)
3rd Q, 6:26: 1st and 10, incomplete
3rd Q, 1:57: 3rd and 10, complete for 22 yds.
3rd Q, 1:03: 2nd and 10, complete for 7 yds.
4th Q, 11:27: 3rd and 11, incomplete
4th Q, 6:18: 3rd and 2, complete for 24 yds.
The 22 yard gain in the third quarter was a particularly important play. It was a tight 15-14 game at that point, and Finley’s catch and run kept the drive alive and put the ball in Falcons’ territory. Just a few plays later, Greg Jennings would take the ball to the house to put the Packers safely ahead for good. An excited Finley felt the importance of his catch, doing a rather amusing dance after the catch. Here it is:
My initial reaction to this was “you dropped an easy pass earlier -just catch the ball and act like you’ve done it before.” After thinking about it, perhaps that’s why Finley was so animated; he was still pissed at himself for that drop. So, I’m not going to obsess over the celebration.
What I will obsess over is that Finley just do his job and catch the ball. Aaron Rodgers went to him 5 times on third down, so he’s certainly getting targeted when it means something.
We all appreciate Finley’s talent. Â But ifÂ Finley wants to be the Packers “playmaker,” Â he needs to be reliable and consistent, not flash hot and cold. Then it will truly be TGIF or YOTTO time.----------
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He is a PFWA member who can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.