GREEN BAY – During the offseason, Jermichael Finley spoke of needing to develop better chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Apparently, five games into the season, the Green Bay Packers tight end and his quarterback still haven’t gotten to where they need to be – at least, that’s how Finley felt about it on Wednesday.
Finley, who enters Sunday night’s game against the Houston Texans having caught 22 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown, spent some time talking about his shoulder injury and his intention to play on Sunday night, but then was asked how he felt this season was going.
“I think everybody’s gotten lost in the (Rob) Gronkowski numbers and Jimmy Graham numbers, going for (1,000 yards) a year,” Finley replied, referring to the New England Patriots tight end who caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, and the New Orleans Saints tight end, who caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 TDs last year.
“I mean, that’s unheard of. Five years ago, you’d get in the Pro Bowl at 500 yards. You know what I mean? It’s just gotten lost. I think I’m doing fair. I think I’m doing well, doing what I’m supposed to do. I think I’m giving my all out on the field, for sure. I think I’m doing fair. I’m not doing the best I can do, of course, but hey, who said it was going to be a great year?”
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Finley has dropped five passes this season. According to STATS, Finley has dropped four, tying him for the fourth-most leaguewide. (Per STATS, Graham is tied for the league lead with five.)
Later, when asked if he could get the season to improve while playing through a shoulder injury, Finley replied, “I can. It takes two people to do that. And I need the quarterback on my side, and I need to catch the ball when he throws it to me. So it takes two things to get that going, the chemistry. I feel we need to get that going.”
Asked to assess that chemistry at this point, Finley deemed it “OK” before adding, “Not good enough at all. 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.”
Rodgers was not asked about Finley’s comments during his weekly Wednesday media briefing at his locker.
The Finley-Rodgers relationship got some attention last month when Finley’s agent posted his thoughts on Rodgers’ leadership abilities on his Twitter account. Finley said later that the agent, Blake Baratz, formulated his opinions about Rodgers on his own, with no input from the tight end. Unprompted, wide receiver James Jones spoke out again on Wednesday about that, saying, “Like I said (then), that's ridiculous. For somebody on the outside that's not even in our locker room to question our quarterback's leadership is ridiculous.
“Even – I don't care if it's somebody's agent in the locker room, if their player or somebody – you don't Tweet that. You don't understand what he does on a weekly basis. You watch him on Sundays, that's it. You don't know what the man does during the week and how his teammates look at him. So I thought that was ridiculous.”
Finley also was asked about Rodgers’ comments on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN on Tuesday when the quarterback said he wasn’t playing up to his standards and said the comments demonstrated leadership.
“What’s my reaction? I would say first of all, that’s a leader taking the blame on himself. That’s what you’re supposed to do as a player, like I would say it’s on me,” Finley said. “So you’ve got to check yourself. I think that’s leadership.
“I think he’s playing good, but like I said, this is a team sport, and it’s going to take all 11 of us on the field when he’s on the field with us. I don’t put it all on him. It’s his receiving corps, we’re dropping balls; it’s his linemen not blocking for him. He’s got a lot to think about. I would be scared, too, if I was getting hit like that.”
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