GREEN BAY, Wis. — Jermichael Finley is tired of getting in trouble for comments made in the media. So, the typically outspoken Packers tight end tried a new approach following the 23-14 win Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings.
Finley, who has talked openly over the past year about his lack of chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, caught six passes for 60 yards against Minnesota. After the game, Finley had an interesting, very Rasheed Wallace-like exchange with reporters in the locker room.
Asked if it felt good to contribute in a big win, Finley responded, “I think the Packers and the offense played great today and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Then asked of his exuberance on the field following a 21-yard catch, Finley said, “The Packers and Aaron Rodgers and the offense played great today and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Another question, another “I’m just glad to be a part of it” answer.
What made Green Bay’s 18-play drive work in the fourth quarter?
“Aaron Rodgers and the offense,” Finley said. “And I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Adrian Peterson ran for 210 yards in the game, but Rodgers threw for 286 yards. What did Finley think of the difference Rodgers’ performance had in the outcome?
“When you’ve got a great player like Aaron Rodgers, I’m just glad to be a part of it,” Finley said.
As Finley continued with this style of back and forth, he added that he hadn’t planned on reacting to post-game questions in that manner.
“You get thrown under the bus a couple times, you’d do it too,” Finley said.
Finley’s most recent problem-causing statements revolved around him not being thrown to often enough, with wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones all getting more targets than him this season.
Rodgers has not publicly shown any frustration or anger towards Finley, even after comments such as, “it takes two people (to build chemistry),” despite the two of them getting together on Saturday nights before games.
“I think (our relationship) is really good right now, no B.S.,” Rodgers said on Nov. 21. “I think his attitude in here has been great. Him and I are good, that’s what he tells me, so I’m going to take his word for it.”
Rodgers celebrated his 29th birthday Sunday, unbeknownst to Finley.
“A-Rod keeps a lot of stuff close, so I really didn’t (know it was his birthday), just to tell you the truth,” Finley said.
Finley, who eventually dropped his “I’m just glad to be a part of it” responses, kept all of his answers short and fairly positive.
Usually refraining from team-cliche speak, Finley made comments like “it’s a next-man-up system around here.”
Finley, 25, signed a two-year, $15 million contract in the offseason but has not had the statistical production this season that he hoped for. Through 12 games, Finley has 41 receptions for 448 yards and two touchdowns.
Finley described the play of Green Bay’s running backs in Sunday’s win over the Vikings as “awesome” and the return of wide receiver Greg Jennings as “awesome.”
It was a seemingly new Jermichael Finley. A player determined to stay out of coach Mike McCarthy’s doghouse, intent on letting his play do the talking.
If Finley continues hauling in six passes each game without any drops — like he did against Minnesota — while also keeping relatively quiet off the field, perhaps the young tight end’s still-untapped potential will begin to show throughout the rest of this season.
“It was a great day for everybody,” Finley said. “I’m just glad to be a part of it.”