1) Introduction: Packers fans are already well acquainted with tight end Jermichael Finley. Finley broke onto the scene late in the 2009 season and had all the potential to become the next all-world tight end. Three seasons have come and gone since then, and many are still waiting for Finley to realize that potential. Finley’s 2011 season was his first back from a season-ending knee injury and he had some issues hanging onto the ball as well as things being said outside the locker room. Fully healthy once again, many hoped 2012 would finally be the year for Finley to develop into the dangerous weapon everyone knows he can be.
- Age: 25
- Born: 03/26/87, in Lufkin, TX
- Height: 6’5”
- Weight: 247
- Rookie Year: 2008
- NFL Experience: 5 years
(3) Expectations coming into the season: The expectation this past season for Finley were pretty much the same as the previous two—finally put his size and incredible skills together and become one the best tight ends in the game. The drop issue hopefully was behind Finley and since he was healthy, he was expected to add another dimension to an already dangerous passing game.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: For lowlights, Finley had some issues holding onto the ball again but they were not as severe as 2011 per se. While some fans over exaggerated the issue (Randall Cobb led the team with 11 drops, not Finley), Finley dropped a couple touchdown passes early in the season and didn’t rack up the yardage many thought he would (he had 667 receiving yards this season vs. 767 in 2011). He also had issues with his mouth (again) including say he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers lacked chemistry. His agent also criticized the quarterback’s leadership, which turned fans even more against Finley. All that aside, he still had a fair season in 2012. Finley finished the season with 61 receptions (a team record for a tight end) and got better down the stretch with 60 yards or more in four of his last five games.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Well, the off the field shenanigans definitely didn’t help. For the early part of the season, Rodgers didn’t look Finley’s way too much and some of that could have had to do with Finley’s remarks to the media as well as his agent (we all know how well Rodgers holds a grudge). He also was overshadowed by the shiny new toy in the Packers offense called Randall Cobb. Finley contributed more later on in the season, but the Packers were already playoff bound at that point.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Finley had one catch on three targets for 10 yards against the Vikings and four catches on five targets for 35 yards against the 49ers. In other words, his contributions in the playoffs were pretty much non-existent though he did help keep some drives going against the 49ers.
Season Report Card:
(C+) Level of expectations met during the season
(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C-) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: C——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke