When I first stumbled across the story from Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I thought it was from last month. It turns out the item was from Tuesday, even though the quotes were from last week.
“Both of us need to just go out, maybe have a drink or two and just spill everything,” Finley told Reischel last week in the story dated November 20. “It sounds easy, but it’s not. He’s throwing it to who he’s comfortable with.
“I think [Randall] Cobb’s taken my position from ’09. I want to line up where Cobb’s lining up because I know the ball’s coming there.”
Regardless of where Finley lined up on Sunday in Detroit, he ended up with three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps it was an aberration.
“[M]e and 12 just ain’t been on,” Finley said. “He’s had some guys come through this year, and he’s gone to them instead of me. And really, it’s out of my hands at the end of the day. If I could throw myself the ball and run under it, I’d do it every play because he’s just not throwing me the ball like he used to.”
Finley thinks that, even without Greg Jennings on the field, Finley occupies a low spot on the football-distribution totem pole.
“I’d say about fourth,” Finley said. “I don’t really want to put a number on it, but I’d say four if I had to. I’m pretty disappointed in it. I’m pretty disappointed in the numbers side of it, but I ain’t had the opportunities either.”
Reischel suggests a specific reason for Rodgers’ shunning of Finley. Before Finley’s agent, Blake Baratz, criticized Rodgers’ leadership skills on Twitter, Finley was getting 5.5 catches per game. Since then, it’s down to 2.6 on average.
Regardless of whether Rodgers is holding a grudge, the Packers are winning and the offense is working and Finley comes off as immature for whining about not getting the ball. And that may prompt the team to not keep him for the second year of the two-year Band-Aid signed in the offseason, as a fight was looming regarding whether the franchise tag should pay him tight end money or the much higher number for wide receivers.
Maybe that’s what Finley is trying to provoke.
“I love that question man,” Finley said of his future. “I don’t know. All I know is I have talent. And if Green Bay decides to do something with me, I’m 25 years old. I got a decade under my belt, yet. Who knows at the end of the day?”
One thing we know is that, regardless of how things play out, Finley’s smartest move is to quit talking about it, and to keep playing like he did on Sunday.