[Editor's note: The following interview comes from the Two Deep NFL Podcast, a weekly football show hosted by our own Jason B. Hirschhorn and Sports Illustrated's Peter Bukowski. You can subscribe to the podcast and find past shows through iTunes or by visiting TwoDeepNFLPodcast.podbean.com.]
On the same day that the Green Bay Packers signed Jared Cook, the team's last field-stretching tight end made an appearance on the Two Deep NFL Podcast to discuss his time in Green Bay and the Packers' offensive struggles in 2015.
Finley spent six seasons with the Packers, including the team's record-breaking 2011 campaign that saw Aaron Rodgers win his first MVP award. Green Bay's offense looked remarkably different last year, with the team finishing near the bottom of the league in passing (218.9 yards per game) for the first time in decades. While the absence of Jordy Nelson played a part in the production decline, Finley saw other reasons for Green Bay's offensive struggles as well.
"I just didn't see them clicking," Finley said of the offense. "I hate to throw my guys under the bus, but I didn't see much heart on the field and guys playing as a team, playing Packer football. Once again, you're missing a guy like Jordy Nelson, who's a Pro Bowler. That can hurt a team."
The Packers certainly appeared uninspired at times last year. They dropped three straight games coming out of the bye week, including their first loss to the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field since 1991. In particular, Rodgers saw his efficiency fall off significantly during the second half of the season, finishing with his lowest completion percentage (60.7) since becoming a starter. Finley doesn't put all the onus on Rodgers, however.
"If you get an MVP quarterback that's on the ground all the time, he's not going to be comfortable sitting in the pocket, throwing the ball, three-step or a five-step drop," Finley explained. "I would put more heat on the O-line to keep him off the ground, keep him upright, so he can do what he does best."
Injuries hit the offensive line harshly in 2015, with both tackles and center missing multiple weeks and only Josh Sitton starting every game. As Finley noted, Rodgers often looked uncomfortable in the pocket. As a result, the offense never regained its high-flying form.
Listen to Finley's interview in its entirety here: