Typically when we talk about the Packers’ offense the main thing that comes up is the multiplicity of weapons. At this point in the season it looks like the opposite topic is going to have to be the case due to injuries. The Packers top target, Greg Jennings, is out. The Packers next top target, Jordy Nelson, is a game time decision, but that was the same story as last week when he didn’t play. The Pack is also without their top running back as well. The cupboard is starting to look a little bare for Aaron Rodgers.
One of the players who needs to step up his game and provide a viable weapon for Rodgers is tight end Jermichael Finley. Now everything has been said about his potential, mouth, and disappointments, so there is not a need to rehash all of those points. Most Packer fans, and most football fans, already know that story. What is interesting is the tactic coach McCarthy took this past week to try and get Finley out of this slump. McCarthy made up a personalized highlight reel of Finley and his performance against the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 Wildcard Game.
"That was clearly one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever been a part of, of a tight end in a game," McCarthy pointed out on Friday. This may not be a bad plan to get Finley back in his groove and give him some confidence to focus and get rid of some of the dropsies that he has suffered from this year.
There many differences between that 2009 squad and this one, but one big difference is the play of ILB Daryl Washington. Washington was not with the Cardinals in that 2009 game, but now in his third year in the league is having a breakout season. Washington leads the Cardinals in tackles with 68, 60 of which are solo tackles, and is third in the league in sacks with 8….falling just behind J.J. Watt and Clay Matthews. Washington is not the most prolific pass defender, but does have one pass defended on the year. Despite this he does show a knack for stripping the ball with two forced fumbles.
If Finley can find his way then the Packers could set up very well against a struggling Cardinals team. Moreover, this could finally be the game where we see Finley get on track and be the player so many have hoped he would become someday. It won’t be easy with a linebacker the caliber of Washington making plays in the middle of the field, but if Finley is the live up to the hype this is a job he needs to be able to get accomplished.