Saturday, September 10, 2011

GB-NO Recap: Jermichael Finley

While Finley's final statistics in this game may not have caught many eyes, his impact on the game was undeniable. After replaying the game multiple times, it's incredible how much attention J-Mike demands when he's on the field. Normally when your Tight End catches only 3 balls, that's a little less than you'd hope for, but Finley demands so much attention, that he leaves other parts of the field unattended by the Defense.

If you recorded the game, take the time to watch Finley on every offensive snap. Wherever he went, so did Saints SS Roman Harper. It's a good thing New Orleans isn't in Green Bay's division, or else Harper's prematurely grey-ing hair may be a head full. The Saints often had a Cornerback line up on Finley when he was split out wide, along with Harper shadowing Finley over the top. It's hard to expect any one guy to match up with a guy like Jermichael Finley; on one first quarter play in particular, Finley was blanketed by Harper on a vertical route, but it just wasn't enough to stop a perfectly thrown back-shoulder pass from Rodgers. Jermichael adjusted beautifully and snatched the ball before Harper could even snap his head around.

Finley finished with 3 catches for 53 yards... all in the first quarter. You can bet J-Mike is looking to build on that, heading into a favorable matchup for the whole Packer Offense against Carolina next week.

The Packers struggled early last season in their red-zone efficiency; the team often settled for field goals because of their non-existent run game and lack of a true red-zone pass catcher. Sure, they still had capable TE's Donald Lee, Andrew Quarless, and Tom Crabtree, but Finley gives them a jump-ball threat who has an advantage over any one Defensive Back in the NFL. Not only is Finley back in uniform, but the Packers also feature an improved ground game both with the return of Ryan Grant, and the emergence of James Starks. This Offense is good. Very good.

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