Jermichael Finley – 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

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Jermichael Finley
Jermichael Finley

1) Introduction: After displaying flashes of the skill set that would make 99 percent of tight ends in NFL history envious, Jermichael Finley was on the verge of superstardom in September 2010. Five games in, his season was over after tearing his meniscus in Washington. Fully healthy following the Packers Super Bowl run, many could only salivate at the thought of re-inserting Finley into the Aaron Rodgers-led offense in 2011.

2) Profile:

Jermichael Finley

Position: TE

Height: 6-5
Weight: 247 lbs.
AGE: 24

Career Stats

3) Expectations coming into the season: Concerns about Finley’s ability to stay healthy were always present, but most expected him to have a Pro Bowl season if he was on the field for 16 games. Another year of growth and maturity, combined with the hunger of not contributing to the Super Bowl run and playing with a top-five quarterback in Rodgers, all put sky-high expectations on Finley’s shoulders.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Finley started quiet but erupted in Week 3 with a three-touchdown performance in Chicago. Two dropped passes in Atlanta were a precursor to a string of drops towards the end of the season, including a three-game stretch from Tampa Bay to New York that saw him drop six catchable passes. Finley then sandwiched a goose egg against the Raiders with 80-yard outputs against the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs. After catching the game-winning touchdown pass from Matt Flynn in Week 17, Finley dropped two passes and stutter-stepped his route on a key third down in the Packers’ playoff loss. Overall, Finley dropped 14 passes in 2011—most among NFL tight ends.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Finley’s production (59 catches, 804 yards and 8 TDs) certainly didn’t reach the expectations placed on him before the season. For a player with as unique a skill set as he possesses, those numbers should have been higher. But Finley’s impact goes beyond statistical analysis, and he was a big reason why the Packers’ group of receivers routinely saw favorable matchups. Opposing defenses made it a weekly chore to ensure Finley wasn’t the one who beat them in the passing game. Packers coach Mike McCarthy couldn’t have made it more clear in his final press conference how important it was to have Finley back in the offense in 2012.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Finley’s best play was a 19-yard reception in which Rodgers rolled to his right and found the tight end in the second level. He broke a tackle and showed excellent effort after the catch. Everyone will remember Finley’s performance for the two drops, however. The miscommunication between Finley and Rodgers on a third down play in the second half also cost the Packers a golden scoring opportunity.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season
(B+) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C+) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • ELong

    Your a bit generous – I would have given him an overall c+. Too many drops.

  • http://allgreenbaypackers.com mark

    I agree c grade. too many drops for Finley. I would be hesitant to pay him a lot of money, no one else would.

    • Oppy

      It will be interesting to see what happens this offseason.. If the Packers don’t franchise Finley or resign he outright and allow Finley to test the waters in free agency, I would be VERY surprised if there wasn’t at least two or three NFL teams willing to make Finley one of the top 5 highest paid TE’s in the game.

  • http://allgreenbaypackers.com mark

    too many drops. A c grsde is right.

  • http://allgreenbaypackers.com mark

    a c grade is right. Too many drops.

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Mark, we got the message…

  • Wagszilla

    “Way of the future… way of the future… way of the future”.

    -Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, The Aviator (2004)

    • Ron LC

      Good one Wag!

  • Pete Kliman

    What ,am I studdering ! No big bonus! lol

  • Savage57

    Could agree with the grades if the drops usually weren’t at such critical times. JJ had the same problems, and seems to have overcome them. Can JF do the same? Maybe we’ll find out.

    I’d grade him tougher though, because he is a tight end, not a wide receiver. So many elements of the game that you rely on a full skill-set tight end for (breaking a tackle attempt by a safety 2 yards short of the marker to move the chains, reliable edge and 2nd level blocking to enhance the run game)are missing from his game, and thus his overall grade as a TIGHT END deserves to be lower.

    Why don’t the Packers just move this guy to the edge and either use one of the crew or go find someone who can play the tight end position?

  • http://yeardbarker sonny113006

    Finley, once paid will be another Albert Haynesworth. Just wait a see. You want to see a nightmare just pay a player with the attitude Finley has and see what happens. I mean common, we have to watch the stupid shark thing after a rat ass 1st down!!

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I don’t agree. Finley is a hard worker and actually cares. All his coaches will tell you that. Youn can dislike that he speaks without a filter, but by no means is he a Haynesworth.

    • Oppy

      I agree with Jersey Al on this one.

      Over and over again, the coaches talk about the Jermichael’s desire to be great and his work ethic.

      Does he want to get paid? Yes. But he seems to want to be as good as he can be- and he wants that to be G.O.A.T.

  • Ron LC

    Finley’s grade should be a “C”. That’s based on his perceived potential, which I think all of us thought was an “A.”

    His problem can be described as a lack of discipline. His excitement pre-catch causes his concentration to fail. That should be trainable. However, that requires Finley and his agent to get together with MM and TT and sign the extnesion. If the negotiations fail say BYE.

    I think MM and TT are serious about signing Finley to a long term deal. The success of which should require Finley to consider his past failures and then his potential. Not the other way around.

    PS – Capers is interviewing with Oakland for head coaching job.

    • JimR_in_DC

      I agree that we should say BYE to Finley if a contract extension can’t be worked out. I would much rather use the franchise tag on Flynn and work out a trade for him with other teams.

      A contract extension for Finley should provide plenty of performance-based incentives for him to increase his earnings. It shouldn’t be loaded up with guaranteed money.

  • Chad Toporski

    Should we be grading him on “perceived potential” or on a common standard? As a teacher, there’s no way I could get away with grading a (non-IEP) student based on what I think they should have been able to do. We have to grade based on standards of achievement.

    I understand where some of you are coming from; however, if we grade based on level standards, should Finley grade out with a C? That would mean he’s an average tight end in the NFL.

    Personally, I believe the B grade is fair. He was a good player that made significant contributions to the team, yet he didn’t achieve “blue chip” status in part due to his drops.

  • Zack

    Wow… come on packers fans. be honest here. his play off performance should have been an F. his level of expectations should be a D. Contributions to team’s overall success should be a C. He consistantly dropped passes throughout the last quarter season and was the biggest offensive failure of the playoff game vs giants (granted the only one’s who really played well were A-Rod and donald driver). Franchise tagging this guy after that abismal performance would rival TT’s stupidity of signing AJ Hawk to a 6mil/ year contract last off season. JF was supposed to be the best tide end the packers had since Mark Chumera… instead he was below average. Donald Lee performed way better last season than JF did this year. he started out well and about 3/4 through the season started dropping passes and didn’t stop. If they resign Finley to give him a chance to play to his potential they shouldn’t gamble, they should pay him an average salary for a tide end and if he doesn’t like then tell him to walk. find someone else who will pay him more.