Focus on Finley – The Playmaker

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"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:

“For sure, they took me out of the game. I don’t know what I came out with, but hopefully we can go back and dial something up for the double teams. We’ve got to have something for it. We’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 it’s close.”

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:  3rd and 2, complete for 24yds.
2nd Q, 0:18:  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.  But if Finley wants to be the Packers “playmaker,”  he needs to be reliable and consistent, not flash hot and cold. Then it will truly be TGIF or YOTTO time.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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  • JimR_in_DC

    I was wondering why he brought his hands of stone with him to Atlanta. That goal line drop made me scream at the TV. :(

  • Adam Czech

    I think Finley will be fine, just an off game. My only (slight) worry is that Finely thinks he’s the same type of player as Jennings, Jones, Cobb or Nelson: A player that should be racking up long catches and a lot of YAC.

    Finely needs to embrace his role as the guy Rodgers can turn to in a pinch and make catches in traffic while getting drilled by a LB.

    • Tarynfor 12

      I just realized I have some slit ends in my hair so I thought I might split hairs with your WR order and give the credit to each as merited…Jennings,Nelson,Jones,Cobb and Finley as he does think he’s a WR.LOL

  • Tarynfor 12

    That goal line drop is not what a “playmaker” does and Aarons face was all that needed to be shown.

    Then he gets a 1st down on a wide open pass and he does that,actually IDK what that is,but it doesn’t erase the TD drop but for him it must.

    I have mixed emotions with Finley and the question of the money to resign him.I can’t help the feeling that Yotto turns into Lotto and the Packers get more Notto as soon as the ink is dry.

    • Adam Czech

      I think that was some sort of rooster/chicken dance. Or he was pretending he was a deer with antlers in the middle of his head.

      • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

        I thought he was “swimming” like a fish, using his “Fins” (FINley)

        • Ron LC

          Creativity is Al’s middle name.

          • Stu

            It is his fin dance. He does it because of his last name. Rodgers did the fin in the background of the captain’s photo a couple of weeks back when Finley was a captain.

  • zeke

    it is too bad that some people with some real talent let their egos get in their way from making a successful career in a team sport.

  • The Big O.

    Less MOUTH More Concentration nuff said

  • Savage57

    - FinME Checklist –
    Good, not great TE – Check
    Playmaker someday, but not yet – Check
    Pedestrian stats and durability so far – Check
    Wildly overhyped – Check
    Me first attitude – Check
    Perception outstrips reality – Check
    Signs of diva-ish behavior – Check
    Packers have depth/options at TE – Check
    Huge risk for the Pack to re-sign – Check
    2011 last year as Packer – One can only hope

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      You want him gone? I don’t get that.

    • Chad Toporski

      How soon we forget the 3 TD performance against the Bears…

      • Tarynfor 12

        I don’t think we forgot.
        It’s just hard to accept a feast or famine from the “playmaker” which in turn hurts the real “playmaker” and other”team players”.
        I think this season is the beginning of his BIO and he is leaning toward blowing it.

    • Savage57

      All things being equal, it’s not so much that I want him gone, as much as it is a matter of concern that no reasonable number the Packers throw at him will be enough to keep him. It’s defensible to conclude that based upon his past behavior, a somewhat distorted perception of his actual production and a general “me first” attitude, whoever throws the most Benjamins at him will carry the day. Certainly his right, but as I mentioned in another string, one of the reasons the Patriots have been competitive for a decade is that they do the best job in the NFL of identifying guys that aren’t a fit, will cost too much to keep in the next contract or are on the donwside of their careers and then deal them to maximize the value back to the team whatever that players particular situation is.

  • JimR_in_DC

    I don’t want to see Finley go…just improve to the point where his play exceeds his hype.

  • Mojo

    Does anyone have any thoughts on how well he blocks? Not just at the line but downfield. His number one priority shouldn’t always be making catches but protecting the franchise – A-Rod.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I’d rate him as a bit above average in blocking, especially for the modern breed of pass-catching tight ends.

      • Mojo

        Good to know that. Assuming he has the willingness going forward to continue blocking well, then I’m more inclined to hope the Pack resign him. I guess if he’s re-signed and becomes a malcontent the Pack could always trade him. Even if he is highly paid and somewhat of a pain in the arse, there always seems to be a couple teams willing to take such a player on board (see T.O.). Just the fact that teams are double-teaming him creates mismatches other places and becomes a huge asset for the offense.

  • Ron LC

    Finley is trying to up his numbers so the FA market will payoff for him. Notice that the Packers under MM and TT are what they are advertised as, a TEAM. Note: 12 different receivers in the Atlanta game. I hope the mesage gets through to him soon. He is a part of an unbelievably effective organization. He has to decide if he wants to play as a team member or an individual. There’s not much that MM and TT can do to shange his personal views. Finley himself controls that. A good start is to vow he will never drop another TD pass this year.

    DISAPPOINTED!

  • Ron LC

    Off Topic FYI – Dominguez is moved from the PS to the 53. Collins spot!

  • JimR_in_DC

    Good news for Dominguez, but a bummer for Collins. I hope Nick has an excellent recovery. He will be sorely missed.

  • Todd

    Come on man
    I love this guy.
    He draws a lot of attention from the other receivers and can be and is a big play duude.
    With out him we are a weaker team.

    What an option for Rogers to have.

    Yes he dropped the ball a couple of times.

    At the end og the day we are better with him than without him.

    I think he is worth every penny he can get and we should pAY HIM TO KEEP HIM.

    • Pete Kliman

      I agree. However,I would not give him a long and lucratic deal because his attitude and injuries worry me.

  • Todd

    p.s. I loved the chicken thing at the end of the catch and I would like to see it alot more…….alot more.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      it’s a fish. The hand on his head is a fin and his hand behind him is is “tail”.

  • Seth

    @Todd
    Dropped a couple of passes?!? Did you like the Kansas City game? How many passes did he drop in our blowout. The reason why I call that game a blowout is because theChiefs offense OWNED our defense. They just failed to score in the “red zone.” Jermichael Finley. Is our Prince Fielder. He’s decent, but his ego thinks otherwise

  • Seth

    Sorry about the grammar errors. I wrote this on my phone and didn’t proofread!