This is a crucial year for Jermichael Finley. Raymond T. Rivard photograph
Jermichael Finley. Love him. Dislike him. Whatever you think, he's going to be a key to the Packers' run toward their goal of another championship.
We all have a distaste in our mouths from the last time we saw Finley on the field. His drops against the Giants in last season's Divisional Playoff Game at Lambeau Field took wind from the Packers' sails and almost seemed contagious.
Certainly, we can't blame Finley for the Packers failures in that game. That would be foolish.
But we all know how important this man is to the success of the Packers. Though injured and admitting that he wasn't on the same page as the team's MVP QB, Finley has to step it up this year. Fresh off a new two-year contract, this season is crucial to Finley's future in Green Bay.
If he continues to build on his career-best statistics from last season, Finley may be considered a long-term player in Green Bay.
Much of that depends upon whether he can keep his mouth shut and produce during an injury-free season. If he doesn't, he will most likely be traded or allowed to walk in free agency once his contract is up.
But in the meantime, now is the time for this guy. He brings a presence on the field that few are able to command. His size and speed are freakish. His ability to play both on the line and out wide causes huge matchup problems for defenses.
These are factors that few defenses can stop.
It will be up to him to accept game plans by the coach. It will be up to him to get on the same page with his MVP QB. It will be up to him to improve his lot and to contribute to the Packers run in 2012.
The Packers need him to play well. He needs the Packers to win. Each aren't exclusive.
If Finley does this, he will be successful and so will the Packers.