Packer Update


Finley has lost weight and plans on being a tight end in name only this season

Watching the Packers win the Super Bowl without him hasn’t humbled Jermichael Finley – at least not outwardly. The start of the 2011 season may still be almost two months away, but the fourth-year tight end’s mouth is already in midseason form. And while most of what Finley said to reporters after a recent workout in the Twin Cities was rather innocuous, I found his declaration that the offense will be “way, way different” to be a bit disconcerting. And something tells me the people at 1265 Lombardi Ave. weren’t thrilled either.

Here’s what Finley said when asked by Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune what he expects his role to be in the offense (by the way, it says something when one of the more interesting stories on the Packers this offseason was initiated by a reporter who covers the Vikings): “I’m thinner right now. GB (is) probably not like me right now but I’m trying to stand up this year. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I think (lining up in) a two-point (stance), I can get on the linebacker quicker, I can get on the safety quicker and it’s a win-win for me and 12 (Aaron Rodgers).”

According to Finley, he stood up “a good 60” percent of the time last year. “Standing up, I think that’s the best position for me,” he said. Asked if the coaches are comfortable with that, Finley replied, “They’re going to be comfortable with it.”

When reminded by Zulgad that he plays a position that requires the occasional block or two, Finley needed little time or prodding to come up with a response. ““We’ve got tons of guys (who can block), to tell you the truth and we drafted two of them. We drafted two tight ends this year,” he said. Asked if the selections of Williams and Taylor raised some eyebrows, Finley replied, “It did, but at the same time I know my ability and I see the ability they brought in and I guarantee you I’ll still be a focus.”

Granted, after listening to Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison call Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook and a puppet” and Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson refer to gay people as “faggots” in the past few weeks, I’ll admit Finley’s quotes are no big deal. But it’s just another example of the former Texas star appearing to put himself before the team. Look, every tight end in the world would prefer to line up more often as a receiver and less often in a three-point stance at the line of scrimmage, but how many of them would say that publicly? And how many of them would say that at the age of 24 and with only 82 career receptions on their résumé?

It would be one thing if the coaches told Finley to lose weight and be prepared to line up at receiver on the majority of downs, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. For one thing, Mike McCarthy has only seen his players one time this entire offseason, and I doubt he broached this subject with Finley during the ring ceremony. And for another, just re-read the quotes. It sure sounds as if he made the decision to slim down on his own. The admission that “GB (is) probably not like me right now but I’m trying to stand up this year” is pretty telling.

As much as I admire Finley’s talent, I’ve always had a problem with his personality. Here’s the concluding paragraph of a story I wrote last August: “While there’s obviously a lot to like about Finley, there’s also enough red flags to be concerned. It’s easy to use his age as an excuse, but the truth is, some players never grow up. And don’t you have to worry about a player who can’t – or more accurately won’t – follow the rules on the night before the biggest game of his life? And we haven’t even broached the subject of fame and fortune and how Finley will deal with those two things. Look, maybe he’ll be fine and someday I’ll look back on this post and laugh. But my gut tells me something else. Check back in a few years and we’ll see if I was prescient or just gassy.” Pass me a Pepcid.

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  1. Richard says:

    Finley has talent, there’s no denying it. Something about him has always bothered me though. He’s a ticking time bomb and comes across as a punk. I think some Packer fans might be a bit upset about it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if TT lets him walk right out the door when his time is up. Some guys just aren’t worth the hassle no matter how talented they are. 82 career receptions. Shut up and play Finley.

  2. He’s in for a rude awakening if these quotes indicate the sort of act he intends to pull once camp starts. He’s always had a big mouth and seemingly never had much of a brain working for him, but MM and AR won’t tolerate this BS for one second. This outward appearance of his attitude, especially if it’s an accurate depiction of his demeanor in the locker room, is what leads me to believe that Ted is not going to commit big money to him, especially after showing they can win a title without him.

  3. dHoward says:

    The guy has talent but I rarely read or hear Finley and not think he is immature, egotistical, and attention seeking. Is it just young slightly immature confidence or is indicative of some more serious personality flaws. He reminds me a lot of a young Terrell Owens who blossomed as a 3rd round pick on some pretty good 49er teams. I’m not saying he becomes the kind of person/teammate that Owens became but the two are similar in their early years both in terms of performance but also attitude. Finley seems to have a pretty grounded wife and a kid he adores so let’s hope that keeps him grounded enough not to become the next T.O.

  4. Big AL says:

    There’s a reason that GB carries 4 other TE on the team & i believe TT will shop & trade Finley before he ever signs his next contract, because he will always be a ME player & never a team player!!! Hope he has a monster year so we get excellent trade value for him. In TT we trust.

  5. Jess says:

    I hope Finley realizes that he’s not going to catch 6 passes every game. There’s too many weapons on this offense for any player to catch 90 or 100 passes. The great thing about the receivers in Green Bay is how unselfish they all are. Finley seems like a me-first guy, so it’ll be interesting to watch how fits in this season.

  6. CJS says:

    If he keeps this up, he’ll be tagged and traded or tagged and let go after this season. Ted won’t want the Terrell Owens of Tight Ends on the roster when we have a bunch of high-quality guys just itching to play. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Thompson trades him THIS year.

  7. Nerdmann says:

    I agree. They’ll let him stand up, pad his stats and get a Herschel Walker type bonanza for him.
    Our former QB thought he was important enough to dictate to the coach and GM what he was going to be doing on the field. We all know how THAT ended.

  8. OneTwoSixFive says:

    All those TEs on the roster suggest the Packers have already made their mind up what to do in FA. Say “HI” to Javon Walker 2…..

  9. jay says:

    I for one would like to see finley line up more as a wideout the guy is a freaken monster. But also not a fan of football clowns. I hope he shuts up once football is back and plays.

  10. LoveMD says:

    This stuff is important to bring up. I dont think its a coincidence that we have drafted tight ends in decent quantities the last couple years. Perhaps a little, but part of me believes the Packers worry about this kids ego and how it will play with team chemistry, which they hold in the highest regard. Wouldn’t surprise me if the packers secretly hope another player steps up at that position….not to mention how tough it will be to resign the kid, given his self valuation is so through the roof.

  11. Tangysizzl says:

    I’ve said this before and I will say it again. For a guy with so many knee injuries over his first few seasons, to me it makes way to much sense to stand him up and get him away from all the bodies in and around the offensive line.

    I don’t care, you put Finley on any one CB, S or LB and he will win that battle 9 times out of 10. Hes a beast in the passing game but little more that a warm body as a blocker so I agree with him stand him up and make him a receiver.

    Do I really like the guys attitude? No but hes a confident and talented young man and his diva like attitude just reinforces the idea that hes a WR not a TE IMO. As long as hes stays off the police blotter and he doesn’t piss off his teammates he can say whatever he wants, thats who he is.

  12. hopedope says:

    Some of these comments are a little overboard. “He’s cocky, we better trade him!” I’d bet there are worse messes that coaches deal with on a consistent basis that this non-story. He’ll always speak his mind, but he’s not a problem until he stops listening to his coaches and his play caller.

    In my opinion, the only thing that matters is his attitude while between the white lines. The guy is a difference maker and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Ted isn’t going to let him go over some harmless remarks to a reporter.

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