GREEN BAY – Last season, on the very first episode of his weekly radio show, this is what Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers said about his tight end, Jermichael Finley, when it came to interviews:
“J-Mike is a walking one-liner. He's a reporter's best friend and a head coach's worst nightmare sometimes when he's answering questions. We like to laugh about some of his answers. But when you break it down, he's a very confident young man. We love his swagger and the confidence he brings to the locker room, but he can definitely ruffle some feathers when he's making bold predictions."
Finley spoke for roughly nine minutes at his locker following Wednesday’s organized team activity practice, and he didn’t hold back his thoughts on a variety of topics:
> On his 11 drops last season, ranking in the top five in the NFL: “Catching comes second-nature to me. All I’ve got to do is focus a little bit more. I know I can catch the ball. I know I’m going to catch the ball this year — for sure I’m going to catch it. It’s focus."
> On if the uncertainty of his contract situation played a role: “Not at all. It was just my play. I’m not blaming it on my offseason, but me and the QB didn’t have chemistry. The routes were off sometimes, and that’ll mess with your head when the ball comes. The contract didn’t bother me at all. Not one bit. Not one bit.”
> On the Packers’ offense: “The scheme they’ve got set for us, it’s pretty deadly. Only we can stop ourselves. The offense was rolling last year. We were 15-1. (GM) Ted (Thompson) is a genius at what he does, so I’m on his team.”
> On the next step in his game: “The next step is take my game to the next level. Detail everything, and just play my ball. I feel like I’ve been playing like a robot lately. I just need to get out there and freestyle it.”
> On what he means by “freestyle”: “Play fast, not count my steps, not worrying about how the defense is playing me or what the defense is doing and just do me. If I do me, it can take my game to the next level. That’s where I struggle. I get out there and think too much. If I let my game speak for itself, I can take this league over at the position. If you go out there with too much on your head, it can mess up your game.”
> On why he felt he was “a robot” last year: “I would say no offseason program. I couldn’t get the chemistry with the QB. And not (that I was) thinking about the injury, but every time somebody got around my legs, I was like, ‘Watch out.’ I was thinking about that next injury. I can say it was because of the injury (in 2010), for sure.”
> On other prominent tight ends in the league: “I know Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and Jimmy Graham, they did well last year. But in this league, you’ve got to do it consistently. If you’ve shown that you can do it one time, you have to come back and do it. They’re going to have to show me something. I’m not trying to beat them or see what I can do better than them, but they’re going to have to show me a little more.”
> On betting on himself by signing only a two-year deal, making him a free agent again after 2013: “I’m going to play my game, regardless. If I play my game, everything will work out for itself. I’ll be 26 when I come up for the next deal. It’s going to be an awesome ride, I’ll tell you that. I don’t think I’ve done too much yet. It’s a two-year deal. It’s a good deal on both ends. I’m excited to be playing with a quarterback like Aaron.”
> On the importance of getting in sync with Rodgers: “If you go over the years I’ve done well, we had an offseason program, we had minicamps, we had training camps. So, we had three processes that we were going through for us to get the chemistry. This year, I feel it and it’s going to be a good one. I guarantee it.”
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