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Packers Hope Cook Fills Finley's Shoes

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Packers Hope Cook Fills Finley's Shoes

Before I begin, no this title is not an April Fool's joke and you're welcome for a reminder of what today is so go check your offices or cubicles at work for rubber snakes or spiders crawling on your keyboard! 

With the Green Bay Packers officially signing free agent tight end Jared Cook, the questions immediately emerged as to what kind of player he can be in the team's offense.  Surely with one of the game's best quarterbacks distributing the ball, there's a good chance that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers can find a way to get more out of Cook than the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams did last year.  

The obvious question and comparison for Cook, as far as the Packers are concerned, is Jermichael Finley.  Since losing Finley to a career-ending neck injury in 2013, the Packers have not had nearly the production from the tight end position that they were used to enjoying.  They drafted Richard Rodgers in the third round of the 2014 draft and, if we're being honest, Rodgers hasn't been bad.  He hasn't been great either and that doesn't seem to be Rodgers' destiny in the NFL.  But he can help the offense.  Outside of that, the team has Justin Perillo, Kennard Backman and Mitchell Henry, none of whom are proven entities at this point.

During his time in Green Bay, Finley was a bit of a lightning rod when it came to fan reaction.  Some were enamored by his size and ability to stretch defenses.  Others saw a player who never reached his potential because of his mental lapses and who irritated with his occasional opinions about the offense, his role and his teammates, specifically Aaron Rodgers.  By and large, most fans would agree that they'd rather have Finley at the top of his game than any of the incumbents right now.  So how much of that void can we expect Cook to fill?

That's hard to say until we see what kind of chemistry he has in the offense and with Rodgers.  Cook chose the Packers over a few other teams and the prevailing opinion is that Rodgers throwing him the ball had a lot to do with that decision.  Cook is on a one-year deal and stands to prime himself for a big pay day if the 2016 season plays out the way he and the Packers hope it does.  In looking at the measurables, Cook and Finley are very similar.  Finley is 6'5" and played around 250 most of his career.  Cook is 6'4" and lists at 247.  Call that even.  I looked up their 40 times, just for another comparison, even though that stat is obviously from several years ago.  Finley was drafted in 2008.  Cook came into the league in 2009.  Finley ran his in 4.67.  Cook ran his in 4.49.  That's a pretty considerable gap.  We also need to consider that we're comparing a 28-year old Cook to a Finley who was younger when he played.  Finley had a major knee injury in 2010, but returned and played at a high level for over two more seasons.  Cook at the very least has a chance of reminding us more of Finley than anyone has since three years ago.

Earlier this week when talking about Cook, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that in today's NFL, the middle of the field is open.  Rules favor the offense and offenses are so spread out now that most defenses have a soft spot somewhere between the hashes and that's where Cook is likely going to be expected to produce.  If you've been following Twitter and the stories on Cook thus far, you've seen film of him running deeper routes and also showing off his physicality in fighting for yards after the catch.  His game appears suited to the piece the Packers have been looking for now for a while.  Cook had zero touchdowns last season and he appeared to have his challenges with his teammates and in the Rams offense.  The bet, with Rodgers tossing the rock, is that Cook should be able to get reacquainted with the end zone again.

Any time a comparison is made between two players, there are always going to be varying opinions and, as we know, people are like snowflakes.  No two are alike.  My angle here is more whether or not Cook can offer the Packers offense similar production or the ability to churn out numbers similar to the days when #88 roamed the middle of the field and the end zone.  We're nowhere near being able to truly answer that question but there appears to be an optimistic chance.  

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (46) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

sheppercheeser's picture

I disagree with the title to this piece. Finley (just like Cook) was large, fast and athletic, but had poor blocking skills and suspect hands. The knock on JC is the same thing- questionable blocking and catching abilities. I hope having a steady, HOF QB and a first class coaching team brings out the best in him. If Jared doesn't FAR exceed Finley's accomplishments, this will be a bust.

Nick Perry's picture

"If Jared doesn't FAR exceed Finleys acomplishments, this will be a bust".

I'm not sure I agree with that though I believe Cook will be better this year than any other year in the NFL just because of his QB and the WR talent around him. I posted this on the Blog "Jared Cook or Bust"

Finley ...70 Games played... 223 catches...2785 yards...20 TD's

Cook ....107 Games played..273 catches...3503 yards...16 TD's

Finley averaged 3.1 receptions per game for 12.4 yards per reception for his career.

Cook has averaged 2.5 receptions per game for 12.8 yards per reception for his career.

That's a break down what each have averaged game by game. Those are REALLY close so what exactly should we expect, especially with the number of options Rodgers has to throw too?

I'd be really happy if Cook caught 60 balls but averaged what he has for his career, 12.8 YPC and 5 or 6 TD's. That would be 3.75 catches per game for close to 800 yards on the season. If he acomplished those stats he's most certainly not a bust IMO.

Ted gave Finley $15 Million for having very similar stats during the 2011 season. Plus when you throw in Richard Rodgers stats, especially TD's in the Red Zone, the Packers would be getting production from the TE position they haven't seen in YEARS.

Tarynfor12's picture

Using Finley, stats and contract, along with other over hyped/rated players, as the bar for success from Cook and those others need not be mentioned, had me recognizing the theme song for the Packers coaching and front office. One needs only to replace the word 'limbo' with 'Packer' and you'll hear it in truth. Give a listen.

https://youtu.be/7nb2IgMgw54

"Packer Rock"

Every Packer boy and girl
All around the Packer world
Gonna do the Packer rock
All around the Packer clock

Jack be Packer, Jack be quick
Jack go unda Packer stick
All around the Packer clock
Hey, let's do the Packer rock

Packer lower now
Packer lower now
How low can you go?

First you spread your Packer feet
Then you move to Packer beat
Packer ankolimboneee
Bend back like a Packer tree

Jack be Packer, Jack be quick
Jack go unda Packer stick
All around the Packer clock
Hey, let's do the Packer rock

La, la, la
La, la, la
La, la, la

Get yourself a Packer girl
Give that chic a Packer whirl
There's a Packer moon above
You will fall in Packer love

Jack be Packer, Jack be quick
Jack go unda Packer stick
All around the Packer clock
Hey, let's do the Packer rock

Don't move that Packer bar
You'll be a Packer star
How low can you go?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree, Nick. Cook won't be a bust if he fails to FAR exceed Finley's stats. I in fact expect Cook to equal or exceed Finley's stats, but comparing a $2.75M guy with no real guaranteed money to the $8M dollar man makes no sense to me.

Nick Perry's picture

Exactly TGR, exactly. I remember as I'm sure you do some of the things said after Finley signed that contract, not a lot of them were pleasant. I mean the Packers have signed a TE for $5.25 Million LESS, no real guaranteed money, who is basically EXACTLY the same. And I thought I was hard to please....

4thand1's picture

This can only turn out good for GB, low risk high reward. Any production down the seam is instantly better. I hope the very first play of this season is a 20 yard completion to Cook down the middle.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"I hope the very first play of this season is a 20 yard completion to Cook down the middle."

Man, how great would that be??

croatpackfan's picture

I suggests all of us not to have high expectations regarding Jared Cook. I expect 3 TE on the roster: Richard Rodgers, Jared Cook and Mitchell Henry. Beckman should be on PS... I expect lot of Henry. I think Packers are pretty excited about his abilities and his ceiling ...
What do you think, any of you, about chance Packers will bring Moritz Boehringer on the 90 men roster?

sheppercheeser's picture

Looks like GB would be interested, but now that Moritz is no longer "under the radar", we'll have to see if he is even available.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Das receiver would be wunderbar. Unfortunately after his pro day the secret's out. Credit our guys for having him on the radar early.

lucky953's picture

Hopes are different than expectations

Handsback's picture

OK speaking on a whim....can you imagine a team with 3 outside receivers that are 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 and fast as lightning. Followed by a 6-5 TE and a sledgehammer RB?

If the Pack landed the flying German, it could happen.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Yeah that was called the Bears but they have Cutlet at QB.

4thand1's picture

From what I've read, this appears to be the FA MM really wanted. They have more options on offense right away. TT seems to sign FA's that can help instantly, and I'm sure they gave it a lot of thought. This draft is full of players that can fill holes the Packers need. I've said it before, look for big men on both sides of the ball early and a ILBer. This year the draft will help an already really good team like the Packers. NFL beware.

Packer_Pete's picture

Packers fans have a weird fascination with Finley. All he was good at was talking. Sure, physically he was one of the greatest TE talents around. But when did his production ever match his big mouth? In fact, during the Sb run, he was injured, and the O was better without him. To top that off, all he cared about was whether he (and Nick Barnett) would be on the team pic. What a douche....

Fact of the matter is, Cook hasn't been very good in the NFL. If he adds a little speed over the middle and limits his drops, he could still be a valuable addition, and R. Rodgers is a decent TE who barely has any drops and is a big red zone target. so the TE position could turn from a position of weakness to at least a position of decent production. At the very least, Cook is better than what was around at #2 and #3 last year - so overall this is a positive signing, but I don't expect Cook to be saving the O. Our super star QB has to play better, and hopefully we won't have as many injuries at OL and WR.

Now if we could get Moritz that would be awesome. Just imagine he'd be good catching the ball also, and Janis improves, and then we go 4 WR and 1 TE with Jordy, Cobb, Janis, and Moritz, as well as Cook - no team in the league has enough DBs with speed to cover all 5... Good bye Adams!

RCPackerFan's picture

Finley's production wasn't always matched with his ability's. But he did command respect from defenses and that was a big thing for our offense. Yes he was injured during the Super Bowl run, but at the same time we had a decent replacement in Quarless.

Cook hasn't put up big time numbers but look at the offenses he has played on. Look at the QB's he has played with.

Ok, So you want to replace Adams with Moritz? We keep talking about how raw Janis is, and how its taken him a while to get on the field. How long is it going to take Moritz to get on the field?

dobber's picture

"How long is it going to take Moritz to get on the field?"

Exactly. He's a workout warrior but was playing at a level of competition in Germany that some scouts have likened to being little more than American HS football. Maybe he'll develop into a decent player, but he's so far behind the curve at this point that it's hard to project him at all.

RCPackerFan's picture

I get the hype, and I get trying to find those hidden gems. But can we be a bit realistic.

I know some people really hate Adams and think he should be gone based on last year. But expecting a guy who has just started playing football to come in and take a players job away is a bit much.

Janis was and is still very raw. We have seen how long its taken to get Janis on the field. This guy is more raw then Janis.
I'm not saying he might not be worth bringing in, but to expect him to be a star this year...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agree again, RC. The German wunderbar sounds likely to be PS material, so he would be hard to draft except maybe in the 7th.

croatpackfan's picture

Agree with you... If we bring him to the team he should be 2-3 year prospect, I think. But, you never know...

DrealynWilliams's picture

@Croat "If we bring him to the team he should be 2-3 year prospect"

This is CheeseHeadTv, we don't allow people to grow. If they don't look good in season 1 they aren't worthy.

marpag1's picture

I'm not sure if we should take Moritz Boehringer or Renaldo Nehemiah. Still working on that one....

Packer_Pete's picture

All I am saying is we have enough good WRs without Adams. Adams, at least IMHO, is the most overrated player on the Packers roster. He is not any more than a #4 or #5 WR and will never be, certainly is not a legitimate starter nor a "pro-bowl type player" as our star QB claims, and for most teams he shouldn't even be on an NFL roster, but of course due to his draft status, he is and will be kept on the Packers roster.

After Jordy went down last year, there were reports that Rodgers worked a lot with Adams during practice, and he became his favorite target. In my opinion, that contributed to offensive struggles, as it hindered the development of others. Adams drops too many balls, he is neither fast nor really quick. And for all that work the 2 put in during practice together, what was the result? Absolutely no chemistry on the field. I'd replace Adams with anybody, really. You talk about me wanting to replace Adams with Moritz. Yes, why not? Adams certainly hasn't shown any improvement last season. And we can talk all day about Janis and why he didn't play much last season until they had no other choice anymore. however, during that game, he then had more big plays and showed more heart and will than Adams did his whole season.

So for me, I really am looking for a reason why Adams should be on the roster at all. Would you rather see more drops, lackluster routes, and in general no real effort? Maybe we'd get the same from Moritz, but at the same time, do you really think there is any DB in this league who truly has to respect Adams? With Moritz, at least you'd have to respect the pure speed. Not saying he will be drafted or signed as FA, but even if he is raw, what exactly does Adams have that he doesn't? He may not be raw, but what exactly has Adams shown in the NFL so far?

holmesmd's picture

Adams was a dumpster fire to watch last year and I was as frustrated as much as anyone was here. To be fair, the guy was pretty much injured the entire season. He flashed in 2014 against DAL & NE. He actually is quite quick, but I agree to a speed merchant. The guy can jump out of the stadium. I think he just needs to stay healthy and gain confidence. It's weird how Janis has been unable to even see the field because he can't grasp the playbook and everyone wants him to be WR#2. He's dropped balls and butchered routes plenty. When it comes to Adams, everyone is ready to bail on the guy. It's a big year for him as a 3rd year player. I believe he will step up. If not, he will be gone after his rookie contract is up. Give the guy some support and let's see what he can do. To suggest that some guy playing ball in Europe against guys like us is going to be a panacea is ridiculous IMO. It's been said over and over by every position coach and scout in the NFL, college players are coming to the NFL more and more poorly prepared. It takes some of the best players 2-3 years to settle in. No need to whine before then IMO.

cheesehead1's picture

You nailed it. I don't miss Finley one bit. If Cook can come in with a good attitude and has better hands than all the reports we're hearing, then this could be a good signng. The key is can he be a "reliable" pass catcher? Time will tell.

4thand1's picture

This is Adams 3rd year. It's make or break for him. He sprained his ankle early and never seemed to get on track all season. The Packers have been high on him from the start so they must see something that we don't. We've all seen this movie before though, the team sticking with jag for way to long. Remember Tim Brown from the Raiders? He didn't have blazing speed but is in the HOF. I'd like to see his numbers after the 1st two seasons. I looked them up , good rookie year 743 receiving yards 43 catches, then 1 catch for 8 yards his 2nd year, must have been injured. Didn't do much his next 3 seasons, then rattled off 9 seasons in a row of 1k or more. So the Raiders stuck with him for 5 years. Most fans in here would have called him a bust because he got hurt in his 2nd year.

4thand1's picture

you suck, I don't know how many drops he had, but he put up shit numbers in years 3,4, and 5. You think AR sucks so your opinion means shit.

4thand1's picture

your the expert on embarrassing oneself.

holmesmd's picture

Bovine,
Come on man...Adams obviously can catch or he wouldn't have been drafted. Guys in the NBA shoot, MLB players can hit...unless they lose confidence. I've played sports, I know that is absolutely true. Give Adams another season to illustrate who is right. He's not going anywhere before his contract is up so you might as well try to be positive?! What does being skeptical and negative accomplish? I know deep down you hope you are wrong and I'm right if you are a serious fan like I think you are! Smile, pet a puppy, give some change to a homeless person....there is a great big positive world out there! ;) Lol

RCPackerFan's picture

Cook is similar to Finley in his playing style. He is big and fast.
The part that the Packers missed the most after losing Finley was the guy that could put pressure on the Safety's up the middle of the field. While Finley maybe didn't quite have the receiving numbers we hoped for, what he did was force defenses to have to key in on him. Defenses couldn't just let a LB cover Finley.

With Richard Rodgers as the TE defenses were able to focus solely on the WR's. Safety's didn't have to provide any help to cover the TE's.
That is why signing Cook is a really big thing for this offense. He now provides that big threat down the middle of the field that defenses will have to pay attention to. It will help open up the outside more as well as the slot.

I'm not going to say that Cook will come in and have monstrous numbers. I think his impact will be more in the attention that he will gain from defenses and in helping others get open more.

dobber's picture

"I think his impact will be more in the attention that he will gain from defenses and in helping others get open more."

Exactly. He doesn't need to catch a lot of passes to force defenses to account for him, but as soon as they do, it will make a world of difference for the offense.

RCPackerFan's picture

That is the part I am really looking forward to. When defenses have to actually adjust to having a threat in the middle of the field again.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

This is spot on, RC. The biggest addition Cook brings is stressing defenses by making it hard for the safety to double or shade towards Nelson or Cobb. Many teams won't be able to cover Cook with a LB at all and will have to change their personnel. As an example, I would be perfectly comfortable as a DC having Barrington or even Palmer cover RR, whereas I know I couldn't have them cover Cook; I am not sure I'd want even CM3 trying to run with Cook down the seam. Cook can be split wide as well, offering some insurance if Janis, Adams, and Abby fail to develop.

RCPackerFan's picture

If I remember right didn't the Packers have LB's and Safety's helping to cover Cook when the Packers played the Rams? The difference for the Rams compared to the Packers is the Packers other weapons are much, much better.
So if teams have to do cover Cook with LB's and Safety's that will open everything up for Nelson, Cobb, Adams/Janis/Abbrederis/Motgomery. Teams can't double everyone.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"the guy that could put pressure on the Safety's up the middle of the field. "

Yep, this drastically changes how coverages. Last season teams dared the Packers to attack the middle of the field and they failed to do so. The safeties were free to assist elsewhere and corners could lock down on the Packers receivers because they knew the Packers couldn't or wouldn't take advantage.

lucky953's picture

Exactly! Defenses will now have to change their scheme. By the way, I don't think Rodgers got over the loss to Seattle very well. Coupled with the loss of Nelson, he wasn't the same mentally.

porupack's picture

"McCarthy said that in today's NFL, rules favor the offense and offenses are so spread out now that most defenses have a soft spot somewhere between the hashes and that's where Cook is likely going to be expected to produce"

No kidding, Mike. So you know what packer fans see when the defense goes out there, and opposing team has receivers catching easy ones criss crossing in that same area.

Now please go get a decent coverage ILB in FA and get another in 3rd round of draft. Stop the bleeding there with a crowbar, not a tootsie roll.

Idiot Fan's picture

All I want for Christmas is the elimination of the two-yard out pass to RRodgers. Anything Cook does is gravy for me.

Point Packer's picture

I may have a brain aneurysm if I see that play called for Rodgers again. That play and the "oh so predictable I cant' believe the opposing team doesn't know its coming 3rd and 1 FB dive to Kuhn".

jeremyjjbrown's picture

One-yard outs it is for now on...

chaka's picture

Packers should re-sign former TE Colt Lyerla. If signed he would be the best TE on the roster.

Packer_Pete's picture

dude, you really have a problem. you should see professional help. Remember, he already was in camp with the Packers. Couldn't even beat out the likes of #3 or #4 TEs back then...

Handsback's picture

I know Chaka seems very hung-up on Colt as the TE of the future. However, he is right! Colt is the TE of the future for the Arena league teams.

4thand1's picture

april fools

Lphill's picture

I think Cook will be motivated playing with A Rod plus the fact of playing in the post season , it's a win win for everyone .

4thand10's picture

Is it Christmas around here? We have Cook. That is some serious awesomesauce!!! He had 10 different QB's in 7 years and now he has A-Rod.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=youtube+let+me+tell+you+about+my+best+friend&t...

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