Jermichael Finley: Packers TE Needs to Stop 'Chemistry' Cry
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While the 6'5'", 247-pound Finley has limitless potential as a weapon in the passing game, Rodgers has plenty of other sure-handed options to turn to.
Fox Sports Wisconsin reporter Paul Imig documented Finley's recent quotes, where the tight end implied that Rodgers wasn't making the same effort he was to get on the same page.
"I need the quarterback on my side, and I need to catch the ball when he throws it to me. So it takes two things to get that going, the chemistry."
It doesn't seem like it would be hard to develop rapport with arguably the NFL's best quarterback over the past two-plus seasons. Finley simply does not need to vent the issue to the public, though.
Some might argue that his production has been relatively disappointing given his talent level, but in 2012, it has been relatively stellar. As it stands, Finley is who Rodgers throws to most frequently outside of Jordy Nelson.
In 32 targets, Finley has 22 receptions, which goes against the notion that he has issues catching the ball.
That's nearly a 69 percent success rate, up 10 percent from 2011, where he hauled in just 55 of 93 targets (via ESPN).
If there are chemistry issues, it certainly hasn't stopped the Rodgers-Finley duo from connecting more often than not on game days. In fact, the numbers suggest the connection has improved.
No. 1 wide receiver Greg Jennings looks to be out of the lineup for another week or two, and his groin injury has freed up more chances for Finley to shine. The Pack take on the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on Sunday Night Football, looking to avoid dropping to 2-4 on the season.
Finley shouldn't look at these recent struggles with the offense as a chance to reemphasize how he and Rodgers are out of sync.
Without Jennings in the fold, Green Bay's aerial attack simply hasn't been the well-oiled machine NFL observers are used to seeing. Second-year receiver Randall Cobb brings unique versatility to the position, which is definitely taking targets away from Finley. However, Rodgers spreads the ball around so much that Finley shouldn't be discouraged.
Rodgers is not playing to the level he's accustomed to, but it's clear that Jennings' absence is having a pretty substantial effect on his game. The Packers are attacking defenses in a different way, and Finley is actually more prominently involved than before.
Not to mention, the Lisfranc injury to running back Cedric Benson leaves Green Bay handcuffed in that offensive dimension once again. Of course, throwing the ball then becomes that much harder, and Finley himself admitted in Imig's piece how much punishment Rodgers has taken due to shoddy protection.
The season is more or less on the line on Sunday night. The Packers are in danger of falling behind by three games in the NFC North division. Finley sprained his AC joint in Week 5, but he obviously hopes to be a huge factor in Houston.
If anyone can lift his team without a running game—and with a disappointing defense—it's Rodgers.
Times aren't as bad as they seem for Finley, and he needs to continue forward with a strong work ethic and voice his concerns in-house.
As long as Finley continues making the most of the balls that come his way—and cutting down the drops just a bit to limit fan criticism—Rodgers will have to spend extra time with his explosive tight end if the 2012 version of the Green Bay Packers is ultimately going to succeed.
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