Early in the offseason, all the talk about tight end Jermichael Finley concerned whether or not the Packers would be asking him to restructure his contract in order to remain in Green Bay for the 2013 season.
That question reflected the general dissatisfaction with Finley’s 2012 season, but the answer wound up being that the Packers didn’t ask Finley to make any changes to his contract at all. He’ll play out the final year of his deal at $8.25 million and the word out of Packers camp is that Finley’s doing his best to earn that sum. He’s been praised by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, offensive coordinator Tom Clements and coach Mike McCarthy for his work this summer and all that praise is best summarized by McCarthy.
“He’s having his finest training camp, I think it’s clear-cut,” McCarthy said, via Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Finley had four catches for 78 yards in the last preseason game, a usage rate that was surely helped by the absences of wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson but also illustrates the best of what Finley has done as a receiver over the course of his career. Finley’s blocking is also drawing strong reviews, something that hasn’t been the case for the last couple of years, and the overarching message of the lovefest is that Finley’s done everything the team has asked him to do in order to tap into his potential as deeply as possible.
That potential has always been there, but Finley’s never wound up drawing all he can from it. Should that change this season, the Packers offense will be even harder to stop.