Three years ago, the Packers and Cardinals met for an epic wild-card playoff game, an Arena-style shootout that ended with a 51-45 overtime victory by Arizona.
The game included a breakout performance by tight end Jermichael Finley, who caught six passes for 159 yards.
“That was clearly one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever been a part of, of a tight end in a game,” coach Mike McCarthy said Friday, via the Associated Press.
Finley believes that the Packers’ first game against the Cardinals since that day in January 2010 provides an opportunity to get back to that level. “I feel it. I feel it, seriously,” Finley said.
The talented-yet-underachieving pass-catcher also has quit talking about “chemistry” with his quarterback, focusing instead on matters of trust.
“It’s opportunity, getting trust back from A-Rod,” Finley said. “If I was the quarterback, I wouldn’t throw it to the guy who’s off rhythm right now, either. So I’ve got to get that trust back.”
Finley’s confidence has been lifted by Saturday night talks with Aaron Rodgers. “I’m doing it from here on out every Saturday,” Finley said. “The guy is touching the ball 100 percent of the time. You’ve got to have that trust. That 30-, 45-minute meeting, that shows a lot. And he just says, ‘How do you want the ball?’ I tell him, ‘It ain’t how I want it, you tell me what you want me to do.’”
Also giving Finley a kick in the fanny was a video compiled by McCarthy of Finley’s plays against the Cardinals.
“It was revealing,” McCarthy said. “He was a bigger man then.”
Finley’s production has been virtually nonexistent in recent weeks, with a grand total of nine catches for 78 yards — in the last four games. Thus, if Finley doesn’t get back to being a bigger man soon, he’ll be playing with men other than the Packers come 2013.