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Loose Ends?

Loose Ends?


When the Green Bay Packers put together a winning season, it seems they have great production from their tight end.





Whether it's Mark Chmura, Keith Jackson, Bubba Franks, or Ed "Toolbox" West (Just Kidding), it's apparent the Packers' offense is at another level over the years when the tight end is frequently involved.

Even a season ago during the 6-10 disaster, the Packers struggled to involve Donald Lee, a tight end who enjoyed a solid season in 2008 for a 13-3 Packers squad.

Ranking 20th among tight ends in the NFL in receptions with a meager 39 and 29th in yards with 303, Donald Lee took a step back in 2008 in terms of production from his previous year. In 2007, Lee racked up nearly 50 receptions along with 600 yards receiving. That's the type of numbers the Packers need from their starting tight end in 2009.

One perception is that with Tory Humphrey and Jermichael Finley increasingly involved, Lee's numbers were certain to decrease. This theory, however, deems false because the overall numbers at tight end were marginally down from a year ago as well. In 2007, the threesome of Lee, Bubba Franks, and Ryan Krause managed to haul in 68 passes for 718 yards as compared to 2008's trio of Lee, Finley and Humphrey who collected 56 receptions for 539 yards.

These numbers seem relatively close in comparison, but regardless it seems more consistency is needed from the position. While Lee is a solid tight end, Humphrey has limited experience and Finley is young and un-polished, the group needs to perform better next season.

It seems like Humphrey has some talent, but injury issues and inconsistencies have resulted in limited production and playing time from the 4th year veteran.

While Finley appears to have all of the physical tools to become a great receiving tight end, will he take the next step in the offseason? It took the entire season for the fade route to work with Finley, as he caught a touchdown against the Lions in the season finale. Maturity issues also are a concern for the 21-year-old as he allocated blame through the media after a game last season.

Maybe it's because the Packers' defense seems to get torched by mediocre tight ends, but I feel like this would take the offense to another level. Having a legitimate receiving tight end threat for short yardage situations would be very helpful.

Whether they add a draft pick, choose a diamond in the rough acquisition, or a current player steps up, I find it important for this position to increase its' productivity.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (6) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Dale Z's picture

Why throw to the tight end when you have Greg Jennings?!

good stuff, tyler.

Toby Hump's picture

jermichael looked good at the end of last season. i'm not sure though. he seems a bit too inconsistent. the fact we were the top team going after gonzales should tell all really.


Andyman's picture

This is good stuff. An overlooked point, for sure.

Franklin Hillside's picture

The drop in production could be directly attributed to the change in QB. Favre loved throwing to the tight end. I think Rodgers will see the value soon enough, he began to towards the end of the year.

I like who we have on the team right now. Finley is close.

Pack93z's picture

"Whether it’s Mark Chmura, Keith Jackson, Bubba Franks, or Ed “Toolbox” West (Just Kidding)."

Ed West but no Paul Coffman? lol.

Overall good article.

One thing that Finley talents will bring that I don't see in Lee or others is the ability to truly be split out and force pressure on the defense to make adjustments to his overall size. That is a huge advantage to be able to stretch the defense out.. either they match up a nickel/CB on him.. pull a safety up or slide a backer out.

CB vs. Finley... Advantage Finley in physical nature.. depending on the safety that may or may not hold true. So likely the DC moves a S or LB over him.. both cases it weakens the defense in the interior of the field and allows for a ton of flexibility for the offense to attack the center of the field with slants, crosses or running the ball between the tackles..

A traditional TE on the end also plays an important role, but a dynamic of Finley matched with a offensive mind like MM should be interesting to watch and productive.

Greg C.'s picture

I would like to see them replace Humphrey, as I've lost patience with him. But mostly we need Finley to step up. He could do for us what Greg Olsen does for the Bears. Also, I agree with Franklin that Aaron Rodgers is bound to get more comfortable throwing to the TE's.

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