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Lightning Always Strikes When Jermichael Finley is Near

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Lightning Always Strikes When Jermichael Finley is Near

The following column is written by weekly Wednesday columnist John Rehor.

There is a given every NFL season.

Every season, it is an unwritten rule that Jermichael Finley will be associated with something controversial.

Whether it is because of his whoopsies trying to catch the ball, or making comments that he had no chemistry with Aaron Rodgers and everything in between, whenever Finley’s name is attached to something, it is a guarantee that it will explode with discussion. He is the ultimate lightning rod for conversation.

The 2012 season is a mere two weeks old and already Finley has been linked to controversy.

Finley’s agent, Blake Baratz, ignited a firestorm of conversation when he tweeted an observation about the reigning league MVP: “ARod is a great QB he isn't a great leader. There's a major difference. Leaders take the blame & make every1 better. He doesn't."

That's a strong statement for anyone to make and an unwise one for a player’s agent to make. And Finley is caught in the middle.

The issue is not that this dig against Rodgers was said. The issue is that once again, Finley is linked to a controversial topic, and one has to wonder how much more the Packers will tolerate his name being in the headlines in a negative way.

If Finley was a perpetual All-Pro, catching everything that was thrown within a 50-mile radius of him, he might get a free pass for the things he says, as well as things his agent says. But after four-plus years, Finley is what he is: an ultra-talented, underperforming potential All-Pro who often says things he shouldn’t, who is always facing criticism, and will probably never meet the incredibly high expectations placed on him.

Am I suggesting the Packers get on the phone and start calling other teams in an effort to trade their gifted but enigmatic tight end tomorrow? No. But his two-year deal signed in the offseason at a relatively cheap price allows for a fairly quick exit if they choose to keep him. It is also a cheap contract for a trading partner to potentially take on if they choose to take that route.

As long as Finley is in Green Bay, he will continue to attract attention for what he does both on and off the field. While he can control his play and what he says, the Packers fan base is so fickle that the slightest fall off in play or slightest comment that may raise an eyebrow. and Finley would immediately go back to being the most hated player on the team. It is an unfair situation for him to be in, but he is responsible for much of the anger thrown in his direction.

For just one season, starting this week, I would like to see Finley shut up and just play football. Retire from Twitter once and for all, minimize his activity with the press, and just focus on the game. Don’t make comments, don’t do interviews, don’t tweet that it’s YOTTO yet again. Just focus on the game and become the very best player he can. Maybe then, everyone could judge him solely on his performance on the field, without any input from the periphery that surrounds him.

Telling his agent to shut up might be a good idea too.

John Rehor is a writer at Cheesehead TV’s Eat More Cheese and co-host of Cheesehead Radio (blogtalkradio.com/cheeseheadradio). He can be contacted at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (77) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

djbonney138's picture

Can we give his money to Greg?

bryce's picture

Yes. It's called a trade, and we should do it immediately.

Derek in CO's picture

the big problem with Finley is immaturity. he's shown no signs of growing up, which is why TT is so smart to have drafted other very capable TEs and not to give Finley a long term deal. in this situation, nobody knows if his agent went out on his own to tweet that, or if the feelings really came from Finley.

CSS's picture

"..... but he is responsible for much of the anger thrown in his direction."

You need to parse this a bit, because he's responsible for the criticism related to his on-field play not measuring up to his ability. Absolutely no disputing it. He's not responsible for the 'anger'. There are comments popping up about how his work-ethic sucks (obnoxiously false), his attitude sucks (sound like any other confident TE or WR that cares about winning to me) or he has off-field issues (where?). It's a false narrative for fans frustrated that the guy is inconsistent (which I fully agree with).

Too many fans have crossed a line with 4 players in particular: Bush, Hawk, Jones and Finley. They've gravitated from legitimate criticism to irrational hatred while personalizing it almost after every game. It's a given you can get on any comments section, even after all four have played well, and here how much they suck.

Do I get frustrated with the product some games, sure. Have a few too many fans gone off the deep end with their anger? Yes, it's irrational as hell.

In this case, why don't we make the same leap that the agents other client, Bishop, speaks through him as well? Because one has endeared himself to the fans while the other is subject to obnoxious micro-analysis because he's outspoken or brash?

Rocky70's picture

A little over-dramatic maybe ??

You have to remember that an overwhelming majority of Packer Fans have "zero" to do with the social media.

In the real world, what JFin's agent says isn't even a topic of conversation.

CSS's picture

"You have to remember that an overwhelming majority of Packer Fans have “zero” to do with the social media."

Couldn't be more wrong. They may not be generating the messages via twitter, but they all consume it via web interaction, print and discussion. Which is even worse because they have no context to what was stated and by whom so they add to the narrative with their own 'feelings'.

As to your other points: nothing dramatic about it, it's reality. Since your thought process consistently resides in an alternative reality there's no surprise here or elsewhere you can't grasp that.

Rocky70's picture

You're just (once again) embellishing & exaggerating. You need to, at least, attempt to support your general conclusions with a few factoids. Do you even live in Wisconsin?? I do, & have for a few decades. Believe me, no one here is talking with 'hatred' toward JFinn.

Maybe 'reality' is just not exciting enough for you.

CSS's picture

Troll harder.

Rocky70's picture

Strawman or troll --- you need a new excuse.

Ceallaigh's picture

they may not play a role in social media, but his agent's comment gained some traction yesterday in USA Today. So much for tweeting in a vacuum.

PackersRS's picture

It's also on nfl.com, espn.com...

buckyor's picture

Well said.

I'd note also that while Finley is "connected" to this statement, he's not the one who made it. I think a lot of people simply have an issue with Finley and look for opportunities to reinforce that issue.

T's picture

The problem with Finley is his drops. If he was a top TE in the NFL this is a non story. When T.O., Chad Johnson, and Randy Moss were on top of there game, no one cared about there maturity or antics. However once they declined, it all came out.

pkrNboro's picture

"But his two-year deal signed in the offseason at a relatively cheap price allows for a fairly quick exit if they choose to keep him."

"Exit" and "keep him" makes no sense. Did you mean to say something like:

"fairly quick exit if they choose to get rid of him" ???

GBinSTL's picture

he just means its a short contract if GB decides not to trade him.

woodson4president's picture

Itd be easy to deal with Jermikes antics if he would just CATCH THE DAMN BALL!!

CSS's picture

What antics in particular are a struggle to deal with?

tundraboy's picture

I agree. We are all frustrated because he is the terror in the middle of the field we need. Then O line and everything else would not be issues at all. He is a saint compared to clowns like the Jets have in Holmes and so many others . No arrests, bar fights, pouting , insubordination..........

Mojo's picture

Wilde said yesterday that for all we know it's not really a big deal in the locker room(the Baratz tweet). And that may be true, but he has to acknowledge that, with such a large contingent of media covering NFL teams, this type of thing is going to get unnecessary negative coverage such as; is Rodgers really a bad leader?, do others feel this way?, does Rodgers get along with his teammates? etc. It was all unnecessary.

As for Finley, I've been in his corner from year one, but I'm starting to wonder if he's worth all the aggravation. And that speaks more to his on-field production. I like how he draws double-teams but when the ball is thrown his way he needs to catch it. How many drives have stalled due to dropped passes? And as a TE he needs to understand the importance of blocking. I also was in ARod's corner early in his career and he's delivered. I'm running low on patience with Finley.

TedfTheSledge's picture

Finley's 2 year deal's expiration will coincide with the first year of TV money hitting the cap. Unless he really regresses he will be a hot FA in a big buck market, and should bring a guaranteed 3rd rd comp pick if the Pack does nothing but let him finish his deal. If he reaches his potential his value will only go up possibly into a tag or trade candidate with higher return value. From the org's standpoint, this type of twitter silliness doesn't even register in their calculations of his worth.

Lou's picture

Can you say Coach Killer ? Send him to the Eagles and you can have one Coach Killer throw it and one drop it.

Evan's picture

What coaches has he killed?

Denver's picture

Kind of interesting to re-read this JS article from a couple of years ago-

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/93864379.html

djbonney138's picture

Interesting read, nice link. Thanks

ZeroTolerance's picture

Regarding the anger thrown in his direction, I wonder if he'll catch it?

packsmack25's picture

Here's my convoluted theory: Rodgers has an agent too. His name is David Dunn. Clay Matthews and BJ Raji are also clients. Is it possible, perhaps, that Rodgers influenced their decision in choosing an agent, and Baratz has held a grudge that has nothing to do with Finley? Perhaps Finley has been influenced by Baratz to say some of the dumb things he's said in the past? Seems more likely than Finley telling his agent to cause drama.

june's picture

I doubt this is the issue since I remember that both Clay and B.J. already had the same agent before they were drafted to the Packers..

packsmack25's picture

It's extremely common for agents to utilize their current clients when recruiting new clients, especially when they are 20-22 and have stars in their eyes. Whether they actually end up in Green Bay is irrelevant.

wgbeethree's picture

So how come this is Finley's agent saying this instead of Bishop's agent saying this? It's the same guy but not even a mention of that.

Some people love to make a big deal out of anything Finley says or in this case something HE didn't say and read into it whatever supports their dislike for him.

PackersRS's picture

Because saying it's Bishop's agent doesn't support any particular theory.

Jayme Snowden's picture

THANK YOU!

Cole's picture

Finley is the one catching passes directly from Rodgers. And has spoke out about the lack of chemistry before. I think that has more to do with it.

wgbeethree's picture

Except if anyone bothers to find out what was REALLY said when he "spoke out about a lack of chemistry" they would know that's ridiculous.

The problem is with people basing their opinions on what they "hear" rather than actually seeing what was said. People don't even bother to listen to what Finley says. They just make up what they want to hear so they can continue to dislike the guy.

Take this article.....Why not link to the actual article with the actual quotes instead of a secondhand account with an exaggerated title?

There is no way you can possibly read the actual "chemistry" article.....
http://www.foxsportswisconsin.com/06/01/12/Finley-admits-lack-of-chemist...
.....and come away from it as anything other than Finley taking personal responsibility for it unless you are A)a completely F'ing idiot or B) don't want to because it doesn't support your preconceived notion of him.

Quotes from said article.

"The routes were off sometimes"
"All I've got to do is focus a little bit more."
"I get out there and think too much."
"I couldn't get the chemistry with the QB." (I want to bold, italics, and underline that one!)
"I'm excited to be playing with a quarterback like Aaron"

This is a "sound bite society" and people are going to hear what they want to and not look any deeper into something than they have to as long as there preconceived opinion is validated. It's pathetic.

CSS's picture

Truth, for the win....

Bigfog's picture

Finley - says too much, does too little. A glorified decoy with stone hands. i'm over the guy. Even if it was just his agent's opinion, and jermike had nothing to do with it, it's just another in a long line of incidents with this guy. Started when he called Rodgers out on a pass in the Titans game years ago, and had just continued. At some point, have to wonder if he's worth it

Evan's picture

Yes, he is.

PackRat's picture

It's not just the drops.

He was billed as a difference maker, "uncoverable" by linebackers or safeties. He was supposed to provide the match-up "nightmare" that Gronkowski and others provide. For the last two years he has not been that guy streaking down the middle of the field, making 20 year catches along the sideline or being uncoverable at the goal line. In short, he has not drawn the coverage away from the receivers so AR12 can play catch with them.

CSS's picture

The Packer people billed him specifically as such, Finley didn't bill himself as such. He's worked hard to live up to that billing, but his consistency is an issue (nobody disagrees with his consistency issues on the field).

As to your final point, watch last year's tape. It's no coincidence that Finley's first full healthy year coincided with the most prolific offense in Packer history, 2nd most in league history. Ask Nelson how nice it was to get dime coverage all year.

It's the coaching staff that need to adjust to every team playing 2 safeties over the top with man coverage on the outside this year. Bears and Niners' have the personnel to do so (Seahawks being one), there are only 2 other teams on the remaining schedule that can do so. Let's see what happens then.

Sizzle's picture

"Finley didn't bill himself as such"

Who started YOTTO? That wasnt the fans. Finley needs to forget about the YOTTO 2 or 3 or whatever year it is now, and just go out and do what he is supposed to do. As long as he is running the right routes and catching the ball when its thrown to him the rest will take care of itself.

PackersRS's picture

So the issue with Finley is his personality? If he changes that, everything will be fine?

Evan's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always took YOTTO as the Packers taking over, because he kept it going even when he went on IR two years ago.

CSS's picture

What parties started the expectations (McCarthy, Rodgers and company included)that preceded YOTTO? Did Finley bill himself as unrecoverable and a mismatch, then declared YOTTO?

TedTheSledge's picture

Finley’s 2 year deal’s expiration will coincide with the first year of TV money hitting the cap. Unless he really regresses he will be a hot FA in a big buck market, and should bring a guaranteed 3rd rd comp pick if the Pack does nothing but let him finish his deal. If he reaches his potential his value will only go up possibly into a tag or trade candidate with higher return value. From the org’s standpoint, this type of twitter silliness doesn’t even register in their calculations of his worth.

PackersRS's picture

Great insight.

Tony Horsman's picture

IMO Finley is immature & needs to do some growing up quickly. It seemed he was staying off twitter & stopped with the YOTTO shit. Giving him the benefit of doubt, maybe he just has an A-HOLE for an agent. If he doesn't step it up this year, on & off the field, I don't think he'll be a Packer next season.

THEMichaelRose's picture

Haters in the building. Smh at making a fuss over some rogue agent tweeting. Blake, what a moron. You want your client to succeed? To get paid in two years? Shut up. Love you JMike

june's picture

I don't understand how this is Finley's fault. His agent clearly said they were his own opinions, not reflective of what Jermichael believes..what does everyone want out of Finley now?

PackersRS's picture

They want him to be someone he isn't.

But, as others have said, if he plays like a top TE, all will be good.

Finley needs to relax. It's clear to me Finley is emotionally immature and lets problems get in his head. All this off the field stuff, this is nothing.

Once he learns what works for him, be it a ritual, mantra, whatever, he'll cut the miscues significantly, and will be able to dominate like he's supposed to.

If not, he walks and, as TedTheSledge said, the Packers get compensation.

Rocky70's picture

Another development just yesterday.

"The Vikings waived rookie wide receiver Tori Gurley to clear a spot for Kropog."

Poor Tori can't even stick on the Vike's PS. All you Gurley lovers from last year & this year can wipe the egg off your face now. --- LOL.

Ceallaigh's picture

Finley remains so absorbed in his own narcissism that he can't stand it to be anything other than All About Finley.

The Rodgers/Jones thing this week had absolutely nothing to do with Jermichael Finely, and yet here he is crowbarred into the middle of the issue via his surrogate.

And since he has done nothing to refute/reject what his agent said, his silence is his seal of approval.

He has always lacked the maturity to kick it to the next level. He is thin skinned and willing to blame anything else other than Finley for his dubious performances. Chemistry, whatever. You have a ball dropping problem because you continually manage to drop the ball in what is supposed to be a clutch play.

I'm not saying he is as bad as Randy Moss, but he has this insideous toxicity to his behavior and passive aggressive toward Rodgers that a pattern is starting to emerge. No one needs that type of diva behavior in the locker room. It is divisive and meant make teammates invariably take a side. It's a cancer in the locker room and it needs to stop.

But that's easy. If this continues to drag out, it isn't Rodgers that goes on the trade block. It's the loud mouthed, petulant diva that gets his bags packed for him.

Jayme Snowden's picture

Yes he's now in the middle of it, but he didn't put himself there. His agent made the comment. And no where in the comment did he say anything about the Rodgers/Jones incident.
Baratz put Finley and his other clients in the leadership discussion and no where near the incident. The leadership convo started after discussing Cutler.

Denver's picture

#88 Tweeted this re: #12-
"@AaronRodgers12 is our leader, period. ... Family can disagree it makes us all stronger."

Obviously, there have been some issues between the two, but in this case Baratz seems to be #1 issue. Seems like quite the ass IMO.

Ceallaigh's picture

Honestly it's time Finley canned his twitter account like John suggested and focus on football. He says some very asinine things on twitter, he's kicked the hornet's nest, played the victim and remains passive aggressive.

If he wants a smidgen of credibility, he needs to buckle down and stop trying to make it All About Finley and work on his "chemistry problems with 'the quarterback'" as he eloquently put it last year instead of dropping little bombs to perpetuate it.

Denver's picture

Totally agree. Of course, I'm the type who wonders why Twitter even exists....

Point Packer's picture

Dump him.

PackersRS's picture

KILL HIM!!!!!!!!!!

Don Hutson's picture

Saute him in a nice white wine with fava beans! FtLoG get over yourselves.

Will's picture

It is unthinkable to me how an agent could put this into the public sphere. Worse yet, have you read what this guy wrote about Michael Jordan being a bad leader???? I mean r u freaking kidding me? On one side of his mouth he says a leader makes his teammates better and then on the other he says MJ is a "terrible leader." You really have to question Finleys decision making in hiring a guy who has shown himself to be such an....an.... idiot.....

My 2 cents: Either one of 2 things happened in regards to how Blake formed the opinion that ARODG is a bad leader:

#1 JMich (and presumably Bishop, but I am assuming not) told him that ARODG is a bad leader. Def. conceivable if you look at Jmikes numbers the last 2 years. Essentially, he and his agent are blaming Arodg for their shortcomings.

#2 Baratz, who is not in the huddle, not in the locker room, not at training camp, and pretty much away from 99% of the situations in which Arodg would flash leadership abilities, formed his opinion based off of what he sees on tv and in the media. In which case, he is an idiot and a tool.

I am a huge Finley fan, but my love is unfortunately waning a bit as of late. The guy needs to produce!

Bugeater's picture

Before this I'd never heard of the guy - now he's all over the place. I have a feeling I might know why he might have tweeted what he did...

wgbeethree's picture

Hello, Kettle? This is Pot. You're black.

........

"Baratz, who is not in the huddle, not in the locker room, not at training camp, and pretty much away from 99% of the situations in which Arodg would flash leadership abilities, formed his opinion based off of what he sees on tv and in the media. In which case, he is an idiot and a tool."

So I take it you formed your opinion on Rodgers being a good leader, and hence Braatz being wrong, while you were in the huddle, in the lockerroom, and at training camp? Or did you base them off of what you see on tv and in the media?

I'm just asking because some people might think you were an idiot and a tool for doing that.

Will's picture

Lastly,
No one should ever call someone whose salary they are paying "family", as Jmike does towards Baratz. Basically, you are implying that nothing can tear apart your relationship. Baratz works for Jmike, and should fear the repercussions of his actions if he makes poor decisions towards his career, which clearly he does not. He is not his family, he is his employee.

packsmack25's picture

He was referring to Rodgers getting into the ass of Jones the other night.....

Rocky70's picture

I love the classics from Finley's rookie year. Seemed abit odd at the time. Not so much anymore.

"I've made plays like that in practice - several," Finley said. "I think he should have led me a little more. Well, a lot more. Really he didn't throw it good at all, to be honest. I just think.?.?.?. He knows my game, coaches know my game. I'm more like a run and jump. I'm really not no back shoulder or whatever he had going on back there. They just have to know what kind of player I am and use me in that aspect of the game."

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/33734179.html

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/33802394.html

BeddarCheddar's picture

The one thing that really stood out to me in John's article is that comment about Packers fans being such a fickle bunch. When did that happen...and why did that happen? We've consistently had one of the best teams in the league for twenty years. We have a great history, a great stadium, really good management, an impressive display of talent on the roster... We are consistently ranked one of the top sports franchises in all of sports. ALL OF SPORTS!! I just don't get all of the complaining. Enjoy the ride, people.

Enjoy the fact that we can tune in and watch this team play every week, and, more often than not, win. It's not going to last forever, and at some point in the future you may be wishing we had guys like Finley on the roster. It's crazy that we have a guy like Jones as our 4th or 5th receiver.

I've got family in Michigan that LOVE football and are stuck with the Lions. Even now that the Lions are starting to be good they still aren't a team that you'd really be proud of. People who are bashing Finley, or Jones, or Capers (including Rehor) should really think about this for a moment. Chill out, take a deep breath, and enjoy what we've got.

Rocky70's picture

Part of all sports & especially team sports is the right of all fans to be supportive & also critical of their team & players. (if they so choose when appropriate)

Fans are not autotrons programmed to only suit the needs of the entity (team). This is still the good ol' USA.

Don Hutson's picture

Eat more soy and cashew cheese!

PackersRS's picture

People love to panic.

Mojo's picture

Seems like a certain guy named Skip is questioning ARod's leadership and that he's a bigger diva than Brent. Also says there is dissension in the locker room.

The media is intent on keeping a fairly innocuous story alive, more reason for Finley's agent to keep his thoughts to himself.

Evan's picture

Best rule of thumb for stuff like this: If Skip makes a big deal out of it, it's not a big deal, at all.

Don Hutson's picture

We could all do with a bit less sittin by that bay near the docks.

Anita's picture

A guy like Skip Bayless is just lying in wait, looking for ANY holy nugget of bullshit that he can find on Rodgers that he can blow out of proportion. He's ticked that everything negative he's ever said about Rodgers, has proven wrong. He can't win big games? He wins a Super Bowl and an MVP. This one Tweet has given a snake like Bayless new life in his quest to tweak the Packers fan base and get attention.

razor's picture

It's really unfortunate that an agent would do something like this and embarass his clients and perhaps put his clients in a less-favorable position with the team. (not claiming a major deal here, just an unnecessary irritation).

As for Finley, he is a confusing mixture of over confidence and immaturity. He already believes that he is a super star and if Rodgers would throw it to him every play it would be obvious to everyone and all the little problems would fade away.

Anyway, my hope is that he improves and becomes a more dependable and productive part of the offense.

Todd K's picture

Aaron puts the ball in his hands and he drops it. He's done it since day 1. He can't hold on to the ball. He's not reliable and too cocky. How can it be blamed on others when he can't hold onto it when it's put right between the #'s?

I say trade him while you can before you can't get anything for him.

Barutan Seijin's picture

Whatever... I see an above-average TE on the field. Yeah, he might be better. He could catch a few more. The guy's not perfect, but on the other hand, he's better than Bubba Franks. His personality is irrelevant to me. I don't care what he says on Twitter or elsewhere. I care even less what his agent says. But, in the end, it's all entertainment, & i get that people might find a lesser TE with a better personality more amusing. How about a guy with a god's gift tattoo? Sounds like a winning personality to me.

As for Rodgers, same thing. The guy plays well most of the time. I don't care if he's prom king, valedictorian or president of the student council. He comes off as a bit of jerk sometimes, but whatever, i don't have to live with him. I'm more concerned with what he's doing on the field.

This is the kind of talk that one hears on Chicago sports talk shows after Bear losses; You'd think the Packers lost last Thursday.

Bohj's picture

Remember when football was about the sport? X's and o's. These baseless media stories get everyones panties in a bunch. You sound like a bunch of dorks following the affairs of the royal family. Let's get back to game breakdown and real analysis. You're team isn't perfect. It never will be. Your sport you love is a business. Media is part of that business. You're feeding these stories by reposting them. I'm seriously getting to the point where I will stop reading headlines like these. Football was better when the media didn't dissect every individual. The new web gen seems so whiney. Is this a product of the media or is it the media catering to your whiney ways? Maybe football's not a good sport for you. You should look into prince Williams.

NoWayJose's picture

This guy Baratz is a colossal idiot. Half of an agent's job is PR. What hell was he thinking?

The only indictment of Finley from this incident comes if he doesn't can this genius.

Fish/Crane's picture

I think the reason Finley hasn't become a superstar is that he plays on a team that has thee superstar.

Think of Gates- he was thee guy and was expected to be and he filled the role. Finley and circumstances have turned him in to one player on an excellent cast.- Not thee man.

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