When I sit down and think about "finesse" type of players in the league, the last person that comes to mind is Patrick Willis. I don't know of too many inside linebackers who have been chosen to four NFL All-Pro teams and been considered "finesse."
In the NFL, "finesse" is often associated with the word soft. For example, many fans and media members alike viewed the 2009 New Orleans Saints as a "finesse" team because they were so pass-happy. Another recent example of a "finesse" team would be the 2010 Green Bay Packers.
Any team in today's NFL that doesn't have a strong running game and solely relies on its aerial attack is labeled with the tag of being "soft" or "finesse." Which is fair, considering a bruising run game has a sense of manliness to it where a top-flight passing attack doesn't.
So I beg the question, where in the world does Jermichael Finley get off calling Willis "finesse?"
Here's what Finley told Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com: "Patrick Willis, he's more like finesse. He's going to play in front of you; he's not going to let nothing get behind him. That's what a savvy, vet linebacker does."
Hmm, I haven't seen too many "finesse" players hit with the type of ferocity that Willis displays in the video above. However, Finley did get one thing right—No. 52 doesn't let anything get behind him. He does indeed keep everything in front of him.
It probably would have been wise of Finley to omit "finesse" and "savvy" from his quote. Unless of course he is trying to throw some bulletin-board material out there a couple days before the game. It wouldn't be the first time something of this nature has happened.
Personally, I feel like Finley is doing just that. He is making sure to give credit to Wills, but in a backhanded type of way. Those sure are interesting compliments coming from a player who could legally change his first name to "Butterfingers" and it would be widely accepted.
Over the course of his five-year career, Finley has a total of 29 drops. On average, that's almost six drops per season and one drop every two games. According to the analysts at Pro Football Focus, he also had the fourth highest drop rate out of all tight ends in 2012. He had nine drops on 68 catchable balls.
In 2011, that number was even worse. PFF had him as the worst tight end in the NFL when it came to drop rate. On 73 catchable balls, Finley had 14 drops. No other tight end in the league outside of Finley had more than eight drops in 2011.
Regardless of the fact that Finley can't catch a cold and Willis has six Pro Bowls and four All-Pro appearances on him, the statement he made has no merit whatsoever. The six-year pro is still the best inside linebacker in the game.
By the end of his career, he will be staring down a Hall of Fame bust and Finley will be forgotten just like so many other mediocre players who make their way through the NFL. So, it is best if Willis takes the comments tongue-in-cheek and allows his play on the field to do all the talking come Saturday.