The Jermichael problem
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.
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Has that been true this year? Is Finley the reason the offense (finally) had a stellar game against Houston? Do his frequent drops not matter because he can pose a match-up problem?
The Packer offense is better when the defense has to account for Finley. It's that simple. Ironically simpletons fail to notice this.
Though his constant griping would still be classless and a problem, it would be a little different if he was indispensable. But he's not. Last season's issue with drops hasn't gone away this season, and the team has so many other weapons, including other solid tight ends. Between the drops and his big mouth, he's very expendable.
Get rid of him...he's a big distraction and he's a head case too.
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