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What Fans Are Missing When It Comes To Finley

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What Fans Are Missing When It Comes To Finley

Judging from the comments section here at Cheesehead TV and from my Twitter feed, Jermichael Finley has replaced Jarrett Bush as the Packers player fans most love to hate. Which compels me to pass along a somewhat personal note to those of you who can't get to your keyboards fast enough to type such missives as "The sooner Finley is gone, the better" or "Finley cost us the game with his drops!"

You are all out of your minds.

Are Finley's drops frustrating? Of course. But if you think your frustration comes even close to how Finley himself feels about them, you are completely off the reservation.

Jermichael Finley is one of the most important players on the Packers offense after Aaron Rodgers, especially the way the offense is put together this year. Yes, as the popular saying goes, the Packers won a Super Bowl with Finley on the sideline. But Greg Jennings, as you may recall, played not only in the Super Bowl but in the stretch of games that Finley missed that led them there. With Jennings out of the lineup today, the Packers receivers combined for 10 catches for 106 yards. The longest reception from a receiver was 22 yards.  Finley had receptions of 41 and 33 yards, both during touchdown drives.

Finley also had four mind-numbing, soul-crushing drops.

Today you saw more of what you've seen all season, only dialed up a notch - a young, strike that, very young playmaker who is pressing to make plays and who has been ever since he came into training camp.

Now, there are a lot of factors at work here. The biggest one, of course, is the fact that Finley is in a contract year. He wants so badly to prove his worth that he is fighting balls that in the past were never an issue for him. His previous years on the field, Finley displayed some of the softest and most natural hands I'd ever seen. Then, starting right at the beginning of training camp, Finley started dropping balls he never dropped before. Many people, both in and outside of the Packers, thought it was just a case of Finley knocking rust off from being out so long last season and then not having any offseason work due to the lockout. And to some extent that's true.

That brings us to another factor at work in Finley's drops - the amount of work he's been given this year. Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin conceded last week that after Rodgers, Finley has the largest amount of responsibility and the most to remember when it comes to the Packers offense. That's because McCarthy and Rodgers so often use Finley to try and get the defense to declare what it intends to do. Either by motioning him across the formation or by splitting him wide, how teams play Finley goes a long way in telling Rodgers what to expect. Then, when the ball is snapped, Finley and Rodgers must be on the same page regarding what they see coverage wise. It's a lot, and Finley has done well being a moving piece and a somewhat decoy.

But this was the week Finley was supposed to stop being a decoy and become a go-to receiver. While he didn't quite live up to that ideal, on a day when the rest of the Packers receivers were having a ton of trouble against the man press being played by the Chiefs (save maybe Randall Cobb on a few occasions) Finley was the one player getting consistent separation from his man.

Look at Jordy Nelson. Nelson is a good receiver and has made some big plays this year for the Packers - but he was downright invisible today. Yes, he was the victim of two completely phantom offensive pass interference penalties. But with Greg Jennings sitting at home and the defense able to leave a safety over the top of him and Finley, he was never a threat during the game.

Finley, despite his drops, was.

Here's the final thing I think most Packers fans miss when it comes to Finley. The kid is just that - a kid. He's only 24 years old. As good as he's flashed (and he has really flashed) he is going to keep improving and he is going to get better. He's an incredible talent, close to a once-in-a-lifetime player that the Packers can hold onto and mold into one of the most dangerous offensive weapons the league has ever seen.

I know he denies it, but Finley is simply pressing and trying to do too much. He needs to calm himself down and let the game come to him. It may not be this year, it may not happen until he's had another offseason, and it may not happen until sometime next season - but when the game finally slows down and he stops trying to fight the ball, Jermichael Finley is going to be a fan favorite once again.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (67) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Matt's picture

I think Finley can be great too, but don't be an apologist. We can't keep using his age as an excuse. A lot of players his age have a lot on their plate. This is the time he has to use his ability. If this year's Pack team wants to be considered one of the best teams ever he has to catch what's thrown to him. He has to get out of his own head.

cow42's picture

Packers are great!
Packers are great!
Packers are great!

It's not his fault that he sucked...
He's young!
He's trying too hard!
He's got a lot on his plate!

If you don't agree with me you are wrong, you don't know football, and you're not a Packer fan.

Go Packers!

All of you would have played great if you didn't have so many other things holding you back.
It's not your fault!

packsmack25's picture

Sorry troll, not feeding you.

packeraaron's picture

Packers suck!
Packers suck!
Packers suck!

I'm going to be overtly negative and overreact to every possible issue I can!
Look at me! I'm the contrarian!

cow42's picture

Here's the thing.

I've only been negative about 4 things...

1. I feel the offensive line is weak.
2. I feel that Clay Matthews has not been as good as expected.
3. I feel that this defense is really bad.
4. I feel that Finley as all hype over production RIGHT NOW.

I will admit that I get unproductively emotional. I will also admit that I can be a pain in the ass. BUT - I still believe that all four of those things are true.

To be honest - I could argue that there are just as many Packer fans who would side with me on the above issues as would not (maybe not on this site). I could also argue that you have shown to be a contrarian, yourself, on more than one occasion (your take on Finley for example. What caused you to write this article? Was it the large amounts of negativity you were hearing/reading? Kind of sounds like A LOT of people feel that Finley isn't living up to hype.)

I love this site. LOVE IT! But it's soooo slanted towards the positive. And most commenters are soooooo Green and Gold blinded. My opinions are different. It's hard for me to keep them to myself. But I will. Not because I am afraid of debate. Not because I'm afraid of being called a troll (don't even know what that means). Only because I don't want to rain on everyone's parade anymore.

I'll just keep my frustration to myself.

Out.

AJKUHN's picture

This site may be slanted towards the positive, because it is an escape from everyday life. None of us affect the outcome of games no matter what we write. I come here for fun, to read more about my favorite diversion, can't be bothered with overly negative stuff. I can get that anywhere. So, post a comment, talk about what ever you think needs to be improved. Just take it easy ok. But thank you for no longer shouting.

PackersRS's picture

It's slated for the positive because it's insane to have a site that highlight the negatives of a 13-1, recently Super Bowl winner team with the best player in football.

If they wanted to secure that niche of overly pessimistic fans like you, they very well could, but the site is so successful amongst Packers fans that it doesn't have to.

It can call as it is.

PackersRS's picture

I'm sorry for you, because it's gonna suck a little bit when the Packers win the SB. You'll be happy, I'm sure you're not that much of a hater, but it's not gonna be as sweet as for the rest of us.

And man it's gonna be sweet. It's gonna be sweet when they pounce the Giants/Cowboys/49ers, and it's gonna be even sweeter when they knock the Saints, and it'll be heaven when they smash NE/PIT/BAL/HOU in the mouth, and when Rodgers and Matthews/Driver and Woodson stand back to back to each other with the trophy in their hands.

Nerd's Laptop's picture

Can't happen soon enough for me.

Packer Backer in PA's picture

Aaron - I totally agree with your take. I also think it precludes the team from using the franchise tag, as he may end up pressing in a contract year again next year. I know this is premature, but is there any chance his FA experience is like 89's? I think it's obvious that Finley is worth more, but effectively, do you think GB may only be bidding against themselves (like with JJ) or is there a Dan Snyder-esque ridiculous offer lurking out there from someone else?

NoWayJose's picture

Great point about subjecting the team to another contract year. Perversely, Fin might be forcing Thompson's hand with this up and down year -- and working his way into a long-term deal. This does not seem to be a guy that you want with a distracted mind.

Majik Man's picture

Great article, Aaron. I know that I'm guilty of being a prisoner of the moment all too often. It's easy to jump to conclusions, you know? I think maybe we're all upset because we miss Cullen Jenkins SO much...

calipackfan's picture

It wasn't just him dropping balls all the receivers sucked and Rodgers wasn't at his best. Cobb should be given more reps.

Wagszilla's picture

Nope. I refuse to listen to any of this. Bad apologetics.

There's a legal maxim that states: "One who seeks equity must do equity".

If Jermichael wants the benefit of the doubt, he should quit mouthing off to the media (not just about himself mind you but about Tebow and God knows what else).

What you see with Finley is consistent bad play: in drops, in pre-snap errors, penalties, and sloppy route running. This from supposedly "the playmaker" on the team. This isn't an example of Packers fans being reactionary - it's an observable trend and a legitimate concern. Packer fans wanting Finley gone isn't entirely unreasonable either. This Packers team prides themselves on humility and hard work. Consistently bad performance + consistently primadonna attitude = perfect recipe to get on Packer Nation's bad side.

And "24" is a grown butt man why are you calling him "kid"? He's had considerable more time in the offense yet still failing to pick it up. Randall is barely 21 yet manages to show a high level of grace, maturity, and professionalism. Also it's funny you say Finley should let the game come to him. No. He should go get the ball. That's what playmakers do.

Yes, he could be a giant threat but you're talking about potential. Potential yet to be tapped and as of Week 15 this season, potential that has been squandered.

packeraaron's picture

<em>Nope. I refuse to listen to any of this.</em>

Well, as long as you're open minded about it...

Wagszilla's picture

It has nothing to do with an open mind.
I've been one of Finley's supporters since he was drafted.

I understand your appeal to reason but we can't dismiss tangible and observable facts. Finley is both statistically speaking and otherwise, the biggest liability on the offense.

If Finley is frustrated - good, but that's just talk. Let's see him show some indignation by preparing better down the stretch.

packeraaron's picture

<em>Finley is both statistically speaking and otherwise, the biggest liability on the offense.</em>

He's a LIABILITY? Without him, the Packers don't score yesterday! Good grief.

cow42's picture

So there's no chance that they could have scored on any of the drives he killed with his drops?

packeraaron's picture

Of course they could have - but he is a key. part. of the offense. despite. the drops.

Why Finley haters can't understand this is beyond me.

Bearmeat's picture

Cow - I thought you were going away?

Please do so. Quickly.

BigCheez64's picture

Where has James Jones been? Why did the Pack re-sign him if they never use him? He was a legit deep threat last year despite some drops. Time to get back to what got us on top of the league!

SpartaChris's picture

I don't care that he had the two biggest plays in the game yesterday. He also had the most drive killing drops in the game yesterday.

But that's not my main issue with Finley. My main issue with Finley is that he runs his mouth, constantly, and then fails to show up, especially when we need him the most. Just STFU and let your play on the field do your talking for you. Or just STFU and don't. Either way, STFU.

Aaron Nagler's picture

This is just ignorant. He runs his mouth...how? By answering questions he is asked? Mon dieu!

Oppy's picture

There's constantly talk about Jermichael running his mouth...

I think Finley got this reputation when he critiqued the Packers "not using [him] the right way", and then went on to say Rodgers' wasn't throwing him good passes.

I'm pretty sure that was not last year, but the year prior...

And all these people continue to base their opinion of Jermichael on those comments.

This kid hasn't really run his mouth at all this season. What is it that bothers everyone? the YOTTO stuff? gimmie a break.

Everyone wants Jermichael to be a loudmouth idiot. He hasn't been. Look at what is in front of you, people- not what is in the past.

SpartaChris's picture

It's not ignorant at all. It wasn't all that long ago he was complaining about not getting the ball enough. Now he has an opportunity to be THE key cog in our offensive machine and he comes up short. I'd rather he let his play on the field do his talking.

darrin's picture

How old are Gronkowski and Graham? Age is irrelevant. And by the way, do you know who turns off twitter around August? Aaron Rodgers. His focus is solely on the game and the results are evident.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Bingo!

FITZCORE1252&#039;s EVO's picture

Damn you, I was gonna ask that about those two. Could throw Hernández in there too.

PackersRS's picture

Age is as irrelevant as upbringing.

Finley is clearly immature. It's obvious to anyone who pays attention. He's not lazy, he's definitely not a bad guy.

People grow up. It sure took me a while...

Chazman's picture

Finley's problem is that he is the most vocal member on a team that models itself after its coach, GM and QB. Would he be the most vocal on most other teams? Maybe and maybe not. I do believe that he is sincerely trying to emulate the "Packer" mentality on this but right now his bigger problem is that his drops are screaming out louder than any of his comments.
If he is indeed pushing himself and it is causing him to drop balls then that is a huge issue and age doesn't have anything to do with that. Think Tony Romo (I know, I'd rather not either), lots of talent but how many times has he shot himself in the foot when the pressure is really on?
I hope Finley gets it figured out and soon because he is such an asset to the team and he seems to be a good guy but there is a part of me that is expecting to go into cringe mode when we find out what kind of contract he thinks he is worth.

Robb's picture

Apologist. Remember Aaron, because you write the column, doesn't mean you're always right. Granted ... Finley's paid to do many things. And catching the football is the most basic. He's talked about it for the last two years, both before his injury last year and early in the season this year. He wanted the opportunity, he got it ... and he dropped it. Repeatedly. And looking back through the year, it's not the first time. Add your column to this week's "The Bad."

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Double bingo!

packeraaron's picture

<em> because you write the column, doesn’t mean you’re always right</em>

(sigh) Really? Thanks for the tip. I am allowed to have an opinion though, yes? You think I'm wrong. Great. I think you're being narrow minded. He's young. He will get better. And hating him for drops is silly. Is it frustrating? Of course.

<em>He wanted the opportunity, he got it … and he dropped it.</em>

So he's done? Just write him off at the age of 24. Glad you're not the GM.

cow42's picture

So it is your opinion that Finley WILL BE a great player.

But what do you think of his play RIGHT NOW?

He should be better than he is RIGHT NOW.

packeraaron's picture

<em>He should be better than he is RIGHT NOW.</em>

Yes, he should be. But he's not. I'm trying to explain why. You don't agree/don't want to hear it. Cool.

Robb's picture

"He should be better than he is RIGHT NOW.

Yes, he should be. But he’s not. I’m trying to explain why. You don’t agree/don’t want to hear it. Cool."

Pretty much the definition of an apologist, huh?

PackersRS's picture

You keep using that word, I don't think it means what you think it means.

Robb's picture

"You are all out of your minds" (sigh) Really?

My opinion is -- you're not right. That doesn't mean I'm narrow-minded. Unless of course, you've decided that anyone who disagrees with you is. If that's the case, and it appears it is, then my opinion is you're also pompous.

I'll I'm saying is, take off the skirt and stop being a cheerleader.

packeraaron's picture

Right. You disagree. I get it. And your one stated disagreement, other than to call me names, is that Finley has dropped passes. Well no shit. Every receiver on the team has. Yet, Finley gets lambasted for it - why? Because he's "outspoken"

I have no problem with people disagreeing with me when they have substance behind the argument. When they call me names and can't back up their argument, well, yes, I am terribly pompous.

Bearmeat's picture

Wow - just wow.

Easy Robb.

Nagler runs a great site. Is he wrong sometimes? Yep. We all are.

How about limiting the animosity though? Save it for PFT... lol.

Robb's picture

Before I get turned into the bad guy here. Let's remember I wasn't the one who started by saying everyone who doesn't like Finley dropping balls is "out of their minds." And I'm not the first who referred to Mr. Nagler as an apologist. I was, if you'll read up, called 'narrow minded.' All because I had the audacity to disagree that there's an excuse beyond bad play. Many others disagreed and posted.

Why does Finley get 'lambasted' for it? Because he's got multiple drops in multiple games. And it follows on the heels of his own issue of "Just give me the damn ball."

I don't and didn't say he should be let go. As Mr. Nagler insinuated I did when he said he was glad I was not the GM. I just don't agree with his argument that because it's a small part of his game, he should be excused.

Does he run a good site. Yup, pretty much, that's why I visit. And most of the time, I agree with him. I've sent links to friends on some of his articles. Friends who've started visiting the site because of it. But when I think he's wrong I can't disagree? I don't see where I'm the one with the animosity. I'm just defending myself.

packeraaron's picture

While we're clarifying things:

I didn't write that people were out of their minds for not liking Finley's drops. They are out of their minds for saying "The sooner he's gone the better" and "Finley cost us the game" - you didn't make those claims. Many, many others did. Both those stances are asinine. Being mad because he dropped some passes? Totally understand. And not why I said people were "out of their minds."

Robb's picture

Having re-read the above article, you are correct in your clarification. I apologize (in part). I do agree with you on this -- Releasing him would be a mistake, but I think making excuses for his play is wrong too. Age has little to do with it. As does having a complicated job. It's the job he picked. He's paid for the whole package, catching passes included. He wants a new contract, then he should play like he deserves it. I know, I know, catching passes isn't the only part of his job. But it's the one that he seems to relish and purports to be his strong suit.

Cobb outdid Finley yesterday, and has in just about every other game in which he's been given an opportunity. He had three good receptions, and if he had a drop, I didn't see it. I don't see age figuring in -- either way. Driver had one, mid field, because he was looking downfield before he had the ball. But his other sideline pass wouldn't have allowed him to get his feet down. Age didn't matter on those.

packeraaron's picture

<em>Cobb outdid Finley yesterday, and has in just about every other game in which he’s been given an opportunity</em>

And WHY did he have "an opportunity"? Many times? Because coverage is rolled to Finley.

This is my point.

Robb's picture

Not all opportunity comes from coverage on Finley. He's not in every play. My point is that when Finley is given the opportunity to catch a ball, he should. I'm saying when a ball is thrown to Cobb, he catches it.

packeraaron's picture

Right - which is why I said "Many times"

And Cobb has caught the ball? I'm thinking of the game in Minnesota...

Robb's picture

Which one. The one were he was one for two? Or the one he was three for three? Catches per target. My math shows Cobb with 82% reception rate. Finley has 57%.

Cobb:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/players/24851/game_log.html

Finley:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/players/8868/game_log.html

packeraaron's picture

Just thinking about the play on third down in the red zone where he was wide open on a crossing route underneath the coverage and he dropped a perfect pass. That's all.

lebowski's picture

Personally, I think the Packers allowing average quarterbacks to stand behind average offensive lines for an eternity to find average wide receivers wide open in the middle of the field much more disturbing than a couple mistakes by one of our better players. Woodson will commit penalties, hold, and display poor coverage and then make a great pick and all is forgiven. Don't hear anyone screaming to jettison him.

lebowski's picture

And just to be clear, I am in no way suggesting Woodson sucks, he's my favorite player on the team and the jersey I wear to games... just pointing out the inconsistency of fans' wrath

Matthew's picture

A couple of thoughts

- Many Packer fans will never let go of their view as Finely as a loud mouth malcontent. Started with the minor issues his rookie year and will probally follow him his entire stay with the team. While his drops are inexcusable and should be crtiqued, his detractors also fail to give him credit for his immense improvement as a blocker. Re-watching every game this year, you can see it where he looses very few battles as an inline blocker. It also shows that his willing to put in hard work to help the team. This isn't a DeSean Jackson approach where "I don't want to go over the middle without a new contract". Does he want a new contract? Hell yes. But his mistakes are mental, not for a timid approach or selfish approach. I still don't get the "He should STFU" opinion of packer fans. Nothing he has said is out of bounds or inflamatory. What he needs to do, is catch the damn ball.

MarkinMadison's picture

I thought that he was a poor and unwilling blocker earlier in the year. He's gotten better. The drops have been an issue for him all year long. I forget which, but there was one recent game where he was 0-4 on the day. 3-10 yesterday was pretty much par for the course this year. So what good is a pass catching TE who doesn't catch passes? I get the potential, I'll accept the idea that they are asking him to do more complex things. But it's a little tough to buy the, "he's only 24" line. He came into the league young. He has a fair amount of experience, mulitple off-seasons, and has had lots of injury time to study film. He needs to show that he can put it together. And what's with his first down dance anyway? The flappy-hand thing on the head just makes me think of a chicken.

Chris's picture

I usually agree with your view on Packer stuff, Aaron, but I totally disagree with you on Finley. He is in this league for nearly 4 years now. He should be a playmaker and threat in every game. Of course he can drop some balls, everybody does it from time to time. But it's the mental stuff which bugs me, like being in the worng spot pre-snap, running "wrong" routes or missing blocking assignments.

He will demand Top TE money, but he does not play like a Top 5 TE this season. I would take Gronkowski, Hernandez, Gates, Witten and Graham over him. Heck I would even consider guys like Daniels or Fred Davis over him right now.
But if the Packers chose not to resign him or someone outbids them, they have to draft another good prospect high in the draft, because as far as I can see it right now all the other TEs are "just a bunch of guys" and in todays game a great TE is so damn important.

FITZCORE1252&#039;s EVO's picture

At some point if you're gonna keep proclaiming yourself as the teams "playmaker", and you insist on reminding everybody that this is the YOTTO (thought last year was too?), then you should probably just go ahead and catch the ball... That is all.

GBP 4 LIFE

Bugeater's picture

The drops are pretty bad of course, but I agree 100% that this is more of a case of a guy who really wants to be a difference maker just pressing too much. It's not like he's taking plays off or anything - he sees that his contributition is important and is forcing it. The main thing is he is still a threat. Opposing teams still have to gameplan for him - and that makes a big contribution. Like Aaron says, once he starts playing within himself and trusting the game plan, things will fall back into place and there will be people jumping all up on his bandwagon again and laughing about his adorable quips and celebrations. Oh, and do you think Rodgers thinks he's a bad player? Drops and all, the guy still had 10 balls thrown to him. I'll take #12's assessment over anybody else's since he controls the rock.

Man, a team gives you 19 games without having to deal with a loss and the first time it happens it's like we're the Lions or something! Anybody out there have a team they'd rather be supporting right now? Not me!

Cole's picture

Finley should've been benched out of principle. Give Taylor a shot I'll take consistency over the occasional---very occasional in Finley's case---big play.

CSS's picture

I'm as frustrated with Finley from the neck up as anybody else, but if you bench Finley AND don't have a vertical presence with Jennings you're asking Rodgers to basically play a compressed field for a full 100 yards with a banged up offensive line. In other words, every inch of the field will look like playing in the red-zone where there's no room to operate.

Principle in that situation would get Rodgers killed.

Cole's picture

Yes, true...but perhaps it would force Rodgers to check down more, and McCarthey to adjust away from deep routes which have been proven over the years to be much less effective than short drops and short passes. We saw it last year, we saw it the year before. Rodgers getting killed because they're trying to go verticle too much. Sure, it's been working most of the year because we have so much talent, but you can't tell me benching one player would cause an implosion. Orton tore us to pieces yesterday using the screen game and running the ball to open up the deeper stuff.

I think you bench Finley, ride grant, throw short passes, get the ball to Cobb. McCarthey and Rodgers refused to adjust to the game and we lost as a result. Sometimes McCarthey can be so stubborn. If Finley is choking, pull him. If Francois is going to play better than Hawk, than get him in there.

Jennings goes down and he says he won't change the offense. Well how did that work out for you?

Cole's picture

And it pisses me off that McCarthey spells his name McCarthy.

CSS's picture

Read what I wrote here, agree in most areas:

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/chiefs-19-packers-14

Cheers!

DaveK's picture

Finley has incredible value to the Packers but I can't see TT giving him a top-tier TE contract for a number of reasons including his play this year. Look at the Rodgers and Jennings contracts...it's just not how TT does things.

How he has played this year may lower Finley's valuation of himself and his willingness to tell his agent to get a deal done. I think it is very possible that a long term deal may get done during the down time at the end of this season. It will allow TT to use some 2011 cap space and it will give Finley a huge pay increase and eliminate the risk of him losing out on a huge payday due to injury. Plus, Finley will get another shot at another contract since he is so young AND he gets to play catch with the best QB in the league which helps him with his next contract. I think the Quarless injury also plays a role. I just have this hunch we get news of an extension during the bye week. There are just to many reasons for both sides to get this deal done this season and valuations of Finley by both sides may be closer now then ever before. Expect a four year deal like Jennings and slightly below market value for his position.

But if Finley is demanding top-tier TE money (~$9m a yr and ~$20m guaranteed) then he'll get the TE franchise tag which is a relative bargain compared to other positions and is only a one year risk for the Packers.

Either way he is a Packer in 2012.

Jer's picture

"He's an incredible talent, close to a once-in-a-lifetime player that the Packers can hold onto and mold into one of the most dangerous offensive weapons the league has ever seen."

_________

Here's the part I'm struggling with because I've heard this from many smart people (smarter than me, so maybe I'm "out of my mind")since 2009.

I just don't see it.

Forget about the drops. I can agree that he's pressing during his contract year. But you look at the Grahams and Gronkowskis and other great TEs both now and in the past and they just get open a whole heck of a lot more than Finley. I realize defenses gameplan for Finley, but the same is true for those guys.

I feel like even his raw abilities are being overrated a little bit.

Tim's picture

GO PACK GO

packeraaron's picture

There you go.

Keith's picture

Hey, we just had a 19 game winning streak, we're 13-1, and we're the defending champs. I think the team is entitled to a bad game. A game they list by less than a TD despite playing miserably on the road.

Blaming Finley for this loss is silly. Did he have big drops? Sure. But so did Driver and Nelson. The offensive line also got abused and Rodgers didn't have a great day in his own right. And let's not forget about the defense, which couldn't stop the Chiefs. THE CHIEFS!

But getting back to Finley. Here are the facts: he's incredibly talented; He's shown the ability to be a difference maker; and he's usually the focal point for the defensive game plan. What he needs now is consistency, which will come. I seem to remember people wondering where Jennings was early last year.

Finally, as to Gronkowski and Graham. Brady and Brees target both of those guys a ton because the Saints and Patriots do not have the WR corps the packers have. Graham did most of his damage while Colston was out. Also, defenses have finally started to adjust, so you're seeing Lance Moore come on as of late. As for Gronk, Brady looks for him constantly, especially while Hernandez was out and still hobbled. If need be, Rodgers could lean on Finley in a similar way, but he just doesn't have to.

Richmond's picture

I agree with you about the potential that Finley has as well as that he is pressing this year. I could almost sense that coming into the season, as eager as he was to get back and play at the high level he demands from himself. By no means is this loss his fault at all, it seems to me the entire team had an off day yesterday. Top to bottom.

A thought I had yesterday is that without Jennings, defenses can hide coverage better. You mentioned that Rogers uses Finley to help read the coverage, where Finley is probably second priority in recieving, when Finley becomes first priority, and he stays inside the WR's, I don't think the Offense was getting the same read on the D that they would if Jennings was there. I think you might have been hinting at this in your article though.

I hope that Packernation gets to watch Finley continue to grow as a reciver. And comparing him to Graham and Gronk isn't a fair comparison, they play the same position, but not the same way at all. Finley creates very unique defensive matchups that you won't have with either Graham or Gronk, because of his speed and athletic ability. Both Graham and Gronk are great athletes and have proven to be huge weapons for their team, just different types of weapons.

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