Jermichael Finley very likely will be placed on season-ending injured reserve, and it’s a devastating loss for the Packers. Considering all the ways the Packers use him, it’s comparable to the Saints losing RB Reggie Bush.
Finley doesn’t need to catch a lot of passes to have an impact on the game. It’s unbelievable how dangerous he is. What stands out about Finley is that he gives QB Aaron Rodgers a wide margin for error on his throws because he’s so long physically and has great reach. He expands the field for Rodgers, especially in the back of the end zone.
The Packers use Finley all over the field. He lines up at receiver, is often used in motion and also lines up as a true tight end. Finley is also a good blocker, and sometimes slips out late as a safety valve for Rodgers.
To me, Finley is “that guy” who makes Rodgers special. It’s not that Greg Jennings and Donald Driver aren’t special — they’re very good — but when you add Finley to that mix, the offense becomes scary good.
The idea of a player presenting a matchup problem is somewhat overblown, but there are players like Finley who are nearly impossible to cover. You could throw to him every play if you wanted to because of the way he adjusts to the ball and uses his body like a basketball player against defenders.
How many defenders teams commit to stopping a player shows you how big of a threat that player is, and Finley is the focal point of how a lot of teams defend the Packers. Teams had been bracketing multiple defenders on Finley, and Rodgers still connected. In the red zone, I have to believe Finley is the first or second option on almost every pass play.
Finley is simply a beast, and this is a tough loss for the Packers.
– Brian Baldinger
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