GREEN BAY, Wis. — There is never any guesswork when it comes to figuring out what’s on Jermichael Finley’s mind. The Packers’ outspoken tight end won’t shy from the media, regardless of the topic.
Finley is honest, perhaps to a fault. His transparency is part of what makes him a fascinating athlete. Whether he’s discussing injuries, dropped passes or the ever-evolving chemistry between himself and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Finley doesn’t refrain from sharing his thoughts.
This was true again Wednesday, when Finley expressed his frustration with all the double-team coverages he’s faced this season.
“Me and my wife just sit down and vent every day,” Finley said. “I’m like, ‘Why are they double-teaming me? Double [Jordy Nelson]! Double-team him.’ So it still gets to me.”
This hasn’t been the breakout season Finley hoped for after signing a two-year, $15 million contract with Green Bay in the offseason. In seven games, he has 26 catches for 241 yards with one touchdown. His six dropped passes on 32 catchable balls once again has him at the wrong end of the drop rate category, topping the list among NFL tight ends, just as he did last season.
But with Finley’s 6-foot-5 frame and elite athleticism, he still presents enough of a threat that opposing defenses have continued giving him extra attention.
“It chaps me right after the game, but then I go home, watch the game film, the [TV] copy, I see I got triple-teamed, two or three guys on me, so that simmers me down a little,” Finley said.
Finley has played the past two games despite dislocating the AC joint in his right shoulder. Coach Mike McCarthy complimented him last week for playing through the pain, though it has limited Finley’s snaps significantly. In the two games since the injury, Finley has a total of four catches for 43 yards and wants to contribute more.
“I need to touch the rock,” Finley said. “If you don’t touch it, it’ll leave you.”
Finley has questioned his chemistry with Rodgers recently, saying on Oct. 10 that “it’s not good enough at all” and that “it takes two people” to correct it.
But this week, Rodgers, who has thrown nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in the past two games, received a ton of praise from his tight end.
“He’s playing like it’s Xbox right now,” Finley said. “So he can throw it to anybody he wants. You have to sit back and wait until it shifts your way. That’s what I’m doing, and keeping my head up.
“I think the chemistry’s coming along with me and ’12’ (Rodgers). It’s going to get there. One game it’s [Greg] Jennings, or one game it’s [James] Jones. It’ll shift back to the tight end, guaranteed.”
Watching the way the Packers’ receivers interact with Rodgers has inspired Finley to do more in an effort to gain better chemistry with his quarterback. The two of them have been spending 30 minutes together the day before each game strategizing the best ways to help the offense excel.
“It’s just going over routes, what he wants me to do on this route, if they cover me this way, this is what he wants me to do, if they’re playing off … it’s just detailed,” Finley said. “Real detailed. It’s awesome, especially with a guy like 12, where he’s really detailed and really dug into what he does with his craft.
“I’m a fan of him, man. I love him.”
With a match-up Sunday at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Finley called his shot. The 1-5 Jaguars have given up more passing yards this season than any team in the NFL, so Finley sees it as a big opportunity for the Packers to shine.
“I think we can really do some damage,” Finley said. “We can’t play down to Jacksonville’s level. I’m talking about, blow that scoreboard up.”