GREEN BAY – Jermichael Finley says he’s “85 percent” healthy at this point, which is why he is hoping to be 100 percent productive in the Green Bay Packers’ offense again soon.
Finley, who suffered a dislocated A/C joint in his right shoulder Oct. 7 against Indianapolis but has played in each of the Packers’ past two games, has caught only two passes in each of those games. Finley caught just two passes for 31 yards – the only two passes thrown his way – on Sunday against St. Louis after catching two passes for 12 yards at Houston on Oct. 14.
But the sometimes unfiltered tight end said all the right things – about quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his role in the offense, at least – on Wednesday, even as he delivered a bit of bulletin-board material to the downtrodden Jacksonville Jaguars, the Packers’ opponent Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Finley did predict a big game for the Packers’ offense against the 1-5 Jaguars, who come into this week with the 28th-ranked defense in yards allowed and 26th-ranked defense in points allowed.
“I think we can really do some damage. It’s looking good,” Finley said. “It’s not a trap game. We can’t play down to Jacksonville’s level. We’ve got to play Packer football. I’m talking about, blow that scoreboard up.”
As for his injury, Finley said, “When I’m playing, it don’t hurt at all. I can’t feel it because the adrenaline is rushing, I’m hyped up, but that Monday morning, trying to shift, I’m like, ‘Man, is something holding me back?’ But every week it’s fading away. So I feel about 85 percent right now. The soreness and the swelling are pushing out right now. I’ve got all my motion. If I was to get pounded right now, I can take it. It’s just that, it’s that good hit – I ain’t got it yet. I’m waiting on it. It’s a burn, then it goes away.
Meanwhile, after Rodgers said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com that Finley continues to draw extra attention from opposing defenses despite his limited productivity this season (26 receptions, 241 yards, one touchdown), Finley admitted Wednesday that he’s frustrated with his numbers but is glad he’s helping wide receivers James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Greg Jennings be more productive.
“It chaps me right after the game, but then I go home, watch the game film, the (TV) copy, I see I got triple-teamed, two or three guys on me, so that simmers me down a little,” Finley said. “But I think the chemistry’s coming along with me and ‘12’. It’s going to get there. One game it’s Jennings, or one game it’s Jones. It’ll shift back to the tight end, guaranteed.
“Me and my wife just sit down and vent every day. I’m like, ‘Why are they double-teaming me? Double 87! Double-team him.’ So it still gets to me. But like last week, you’ve got a veteran coach over there (in St. Louis’ Jeff Fisher). He knows if you get the middle of that field going, get that tight end going, it’s hard to settle receivers down like we’ve got.”
Finley has spoken repeatedly about his “chemistry” with Rodgers, including again earlier this month. On Wednesday, he used the word again – again, unsolicited. Asked in a follow-up question how he and Rodgers have improved that chemistry, Finley said he’s sought Rodgers out for one-on-one interaction – something he said Rodgers has with all his other receivers.
“He got all kinds of things on his plate, man. So I go to him the day before the game, he just says (to) give him 30 minutes, and things like that shifts it back,” Finley said. “Getting the time, I see receivers come and tap him on the shoulder during the game, that’s that chemistry they’re building. I’ve got to be like them. I can’t just let it sit back in Week 7, Week 8, Week 9 …”
And how do Rodgers and Finley spend those 30 minutes? “It’s just going over routes, what he wants me to do on this route, if they cover me this way, this is what he wants me to do, if they’re playing off … it’s just detailed. Real detailed,” Finley replied. “It’s awesome, especially with a guy like 12, where he’s really detailed and really dug into what he do with his craft. I’m a fan of him, man. I love him.”
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