By Doug Russell Special to Published Oct 17, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The Green Bay Packers are a fairly buttoned-up organization.

To many in the media, that is a monumental understatement, with the flow of information volunteered at a pace that can be measured with a sundial.

Case in point: Mike McCarthy actually does have a personality. He has a very good, joking, and boisterous one as a matter of fact, but few get to see it because Coach McCarthy actually says precious little from his perch inside the Lambeau Field media auditorium. Oh, he uses plenty of words, but it is all in "coach speak," a term undoubtedly coined by a frustrated scribe who had to be fed up with terminology like "we play just one game at a time" and "we take nothing for granted."

Where this stems from is not clear. Most teams in today's NFL are not what you might call forthcoming when it comes to divulging their state secrets to the Fourth Estate. As a young intrepid reporter, my indoctrination to this phenomenon was my pointed question to then-Packers General Manager Ron Wolf in March, 1997.

I inquired about the future of Andre Rison in Green Bay. Rison, picked up by the Packers from the Jacksonville Jaguars the previous season in response to mounting injuries in their wide receivers corps, is best known in Titletown lore for catching the first touchdown pass for Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXI.

Wolf said point-blank that he had every intention of Rison being an integral part of the Packers offense that season. Rison was talented and versatile and was a key contributor after his acquisition the previous November. Of course he was coming back.

That was on a Monday. On Tuesday Rison was cut.

So anytime anyone actually says something in Green Bay, it is news.

Unfortunately, it is the same tired storyline that has played out over the last several years and it can only be hurting the team.

Stop the presses: Jermichael Finley is unhappy. Again.

Once again, Finley has been chirping about what he perceives are injustices perpetrated upon him by the Packers, but this has been going on for years; be it the unneeded distraction of his initial exclusion from the Super Bowl XLV team photo, or his incessant whining about not seeing enough passes thrown his way.

This season, Finley's predictable complaints began during mini-camps.

"Me and the QB didn't have chemistry," Finley said in June of his 2011 season. "I couldn't get the chemistry with the QB. The routes were off sometimes, and that'll mess with your head."

During a season in where Aaron Rodgers won the NFL's MVP Award and set records for passing efficiency, complaints from teammates about his play on any level seem misguided at best. That Rodgers was held back by the myriad of dropped passes thrown to the complainer makes Al Gore's private jet look perfectly reasonable as he lectures the world on how to reduce its carbon footprint.

Is it possible that Finley is living on his own island where the only reality is his reality? Is Finley Island a special place of adoring fans, teammates, coaches, and reporters who all "get" him? Is Finley Island a place where self-awareness is just a silly concept because of the "yes men" that surround him? Is Finley Island a place where the ball is always perfectly thrown and never dropped?

It sounds wonderful. But Finley Island only exists in fantasy land. Back here in the real world players have to understand their role and accept it. In Green Bay, Finley needs to realize that he will never win in the court of public opinion so long as he continues his diatribe against the state's most popular athlete.

Nor will it be looked upon favorably when his agent does the bidding for him.

Last month, Blake Baratz, during a conversation on Twitter listed quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady as the best leaders of teams. When asked why he didn't include Rodgers, Baratz replied "ARod is a great QB ... he isn't a great leader. There's a major difference. Leaders take the blame and make every 1 better. He doesn't."

It did not matter that Baratz said that he was speaking only for himself. Clearly he formulated that opinion based on more than just his own personal observation. That Finley did not immediately repudiate his representative's damning statement only reinforced fans' negative opinion of a player that has yet to tap into his own enormous potential.

Even last week, before the Packers drubbed the heavily-favored Texans before a national television audience, Finley took yet another shot at Rodgers when reporters asked him if the chemistry between the two had improved.

"Not good enough at all," Finley said last Wednesday. "Something to be worked on, and try to work on it as much as I can, try to talk to him as much as I can, but like I said, it takes two people. I need the quarterback on my side."

No, what Finley needs is either a major attitude adjustment or a one-way ticket out of Green Bay.

Of course star players can be challenged. They are and should be held to a higher standard. But when the one doing the complaining becomes a broken record while simultaneously leading the league in a negative category (dropped passes) then you cease to be an asset.

As talented as he is, Finley has become a detriment to the Green Bay Packers.

"It's probably not the smartest thing to do to call out your elite quarterback about getting you the ball," NBC commentator and former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward said Sunday night. "It's Finley's job to get on the same page as Aaron Rodgers, not the other way around, especially if you want to get the ball thrown your way.

"You can put it behind closed doors," Ward concluded. "Come together. Get on the same page and get the thing done right."

Every receiver drops passes. This is an undeniable fact of football. But to continue to bury your MVP quarterback for not being on the same page as you smacks of an appalling lack of maturity.

"You can only say certain things about the quarterback," former NFL wide receiver and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter said last week. "When he talks about the lack of chemistry between him and Aaron Rodgers, earlier in the season his agent tweeted something about Aaron Rodgers . . . these things fester in the locker room."

There is no denying the talent that Finley possesses. His speed and size combine for a potentially deadly offensive weapon. But what he can bring to the table versus what he does bring to the table are two wildly different things.

"The Packer Way" has been a phrase used to describe what is expected of Green Bay's players. More or less, it hinges on one main tenant; the No. 1 rule in all of sports, the all-encompassing "be a good teammate." 

Good teammates don't point fingers. Good teammates have each other's backs. Good teammates pull for each other.

Good teammates don't let their representatives rip other members of the team in public. 

If Jermichael Finley wants out of Green Bay, he is doing a good job of letting everyone know it. If he is trying to get more passes thrown his way, however, he might want to go back to the drawing board. But the nagging question of can the Packers afford to just cut him loose won't go away.

That is, until you consider the Packers won a Super Bowl without him.

Doug Russell Special to

Doug Russell has been covering Milwaukee and Wisconsin sports for over 20 years on radio, television, magazines, and now at

Over the course of his career, the Edward R. Murrow Award winner and Emmy nominee has covered the Packers in Super Bowls XXXI, XXXII and XLV, traveled to Pasadena with the Badgers for Rose Bowls, been to the Final Four with Marquette, and saw first-hand the entire Brewers playoff runs in 2008 and 2011. Doug has also covered The Masters, several PGA Championships, MLB All-Star Games, and Kentucky Derbys; the Davis Cup, the U.S. Open, and the Sugar Bowl, along with NCAA football and basketball conference championships, and for that matter just about anything else that involves a field (or court, or rink) of play.

Doug was a sports reporter and host at WTMJ-AM radio from 1996-2000, before taking his radio skills to national syndication at Sporting News Radio from 2000-2007. From 2007-2011, he hosted his own morning radio sports show back here in Milwaukee, before returning to the national scene at Yahoo! Sports Radio last July. Doug's written work has also been featured in The Sporting News, Milwaukee Magazine, Inside Wisconsin Sports, and Brewers GameDay.

Doug and his wife, Erika, split their time between their residences in Pewaukee and Houston, TX.