Tag:Jermichael Finley
Posted on: February 11, 2011 9:30 pm
 

Jermichael Finley talks about his injury

Posted by Andy Benoit

Hard to believe, but while the Packers were marching through the playoffs, their most dangerous offensive weapon was sitting at home. Tight end Jermichael Finley was lost for the season back in October with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Finley, appearing on Pro Football Talk Live Friday, said that initially the injury was projected to carry a three-week recovery. But the decision was later made to fully repair the meniscus, which shelved him for the remainder of the season.

Of greater note is that Finley suffered what he now admits was a “pretty serious” staph infection. Originally, he had said the infection was minor. Finley told PFT that he had a central line installed in his chest for five weeks, which allowed antibiotics to be pumped into his body.

Staph infection is one of the great taboos in professional football. Finley is healthy now…and the World Champions are officially loaded heading into 2011.

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Posted on: February 4, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 6:21 pm
 

Breakdown of the 2009 Packers-Steelers shootout


B. Roethlisberger (US Presswire)

Posted by Andy Benoit

Conversation overheard in the media center this week:
 
Media Guy A: Maybe it’s just me, but why does it feel like we’re going to get a surprising offensive shootout on Sunday?

Media Guy B: Because last time these two “great defenses” squared off it was an absolute scoring fest.

That scoring fest was a 37-36 instant classic in which a Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace 19-yard touchdown on the final play resulted in a 37-36 Steelers victory. It was a fitting end considering that a Roethlisberger to Wallace 60-yard strike had been the first play of the game.

All week both teams have downplayed the relevance of last year’s shootout. And for good reason. The Packers, with dynamite tight end Jermichael Finley in the lineup, had a slightly different offensive structure than what they’ll have this Sunday. And the Steelers were without strong safety Troy Polamalu.

That said, this was barely a year ago, so what we saw is not entirely irrelevant today. Here are some of the key X and O elements from that contest (tip of the cap to Greg Cosell of the NFL Matchup Show for helping with some of the ’09 details).

PACKERS OFFENSE VS. STEELERS DEFENSE

Inside blitzes

Last time:
The Steelers attacked early with a lot of what’s called Fire X blitzes (having the inside linebackers cross each other to rush the passer). They were successful on a few occasions, though Aaron Rodgers amazed with his ability to deliver throws with defenders bearing down on him. Rodgers also built a lot of locker room cred by popping back up when he did get drilled.

This time: Inside blitzing has been a staple of Pittsburgh’s attack this season. James Farrior recorded six sacks on the year and rising star Lawrence Timmons was a thousand times better than his three sacks suggest. If (IF) the Steelers blitz, their interior ‘backers will be a big part of it.

Corner weakness

Last time:
The Steelers did not have No. 2 corner Bryant McFadden last season (he was in Arizona) and their coverage suffered. Ike Taylor, Willie Gay and Joe Burnett rotated throughout this game. Veteran Deshea Townsend was the nickelback. With so many players altering positions, and with no Polamalu helping out, the entire secondary lacked continuity and consistency.

This time: McFadden is not a stud, but he stabilizes the left corner slot. Willie Gay, who was unfit for a starting job last season, is in a more-fitting nickel role. Gay still has occasional issues on the inside, but this cornerback unit as a whole is in the upper half of the NFL.

Spread formations

Last time: The Packers frequently aligned in the shotgun with four and five wide receivers. This was to take advantage of the thin, “Polamalu-less” secondary.

This time: Given the way Rodgers has played, Green Bay’s depth at wide receiver and the fact that it’s virtually impossible to run on Pittsburgh, expect plenty of spread formations again.

STEELERS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE

Multiple formation throwing

Last time:
Pittsburgh relied on a variety of different formations to attack the Packers through the air – most of them of the spread variety. The objective behind this was to make Dom Capers simplify his complex defensive scheme. Mission accomplished. On the 11-play game-winning drive, Green Bay never rushed more than four.

This time: Pittsburgh will likely make a more concerted effort to establish the run, but it would make sense to do so out of spread formations. Spreading the field prevents the Packers from cluttering the box. The fewer bodies the Packers have roving around the box, the fewer options they’ll have for confusing Ben Roethlisberger and the offensive line.

Charles Woodson defended Hines Ward

Last time: This was when the packers were in more traditional sets (two and three wide receivers). Woodson, the ’09 Defensive Player of the Year, was utilized as a cover corner on what the Packers believed was Pittsburgh’s most dangerous wide receiver.

This week: Woodson has evolved into more of a safety in Green Bay’s scheme. (When he plays traditional corner coverage, it usually means the Packers are being passive.) But if the Packers do use Woodson as a cover corner, it’s likely he will face Ward again. That would be an excellent physical matchup. Plus, Green Bay’s other corners, Sam Shields and Tramon Williams, are both better equipped than Woodson to handle the blazing downfield speed of Wallace.

Early pass-rush prowess

Last time: Before they got passive in the second half, Green Bay was effective with their zone blitzes. Clay Matthews, in particular, stood out.

This time: Matthews has only gotten better, but the rest of the Packers pass rush has leveled off just a bit. Brad Jones, the starter last season, joined the host of Packers on IR long ago. Replacement Erik Walden is athletic but battling an ankle injury this week. Still, straight up, Green Bay’s pass rush as a whole has an advantage on Pittsburgh’s O-line. Right tackle Flozell Adams doesn’t begin to have the movement skills to handle Matthews, and with center Maurkice Pouncey likely out, you have to wonder if the rest of the line will effectively communicate on blitz pickups. (Offensive line coach Sean Kugler credits Pouncey’s development as the driving force behind the line’s improvement against blitzes.)

[More Super Bowl coverage]

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Packers learning to deal with Twitter

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

IRVING, Texas – In the heat of the moment, Packers LB Desmond Bishop has logged on to the Internet, clicked on his Twitter page and prepared himself to spill his thoughts online to the 14,000 or so who follow his feed.

Then, sometimes, he takes a breath, thinks about the possible ramifications and deletes the words he’s just written.

“All the time,” Bishop said Wednesday during the media’s morning availability at the team’s Omni Mandalay at Las Colinas hotel.

Really? All the time?

“Yeah, you have to realize what you’re writing before you put it out there,” Bishop said today. “There were times when I was going to write something in the heat of the moment, and I read it, and I was like, ‘I better delete this, because it wouldn’t be good.’ Sometimes you get that backlash when you press send, and then it’s too late. It’s out to the world.”

Some of the Packers know about Twitter backlash.

Like last week, when TE Jermichael Finley and LB Nick Barnett – both of whom are on Injured Reserve – complained that the Packers injured players wouldn’t get to sit for the team photo because of travel logistics.

It caused a mini-controversy for the team, and it prompted coach Mike McCarthy to talk to his team about the ramifications of social media.

“I wouldn’t classify that as a major issue,” McCarthy said. “It was really a situation we dealt with, and as long as our football team is not distracted by it, I don’t feel like it’s an issue. But it was talked about.”

Said Bishop: “He basically told us to have common sense. You know what’s right to say and what’s not right to say. Sometime you’re giving an option and you don’t expect it to be blown out of proportion.”

While a guy like G Josh Sitton won’t bother messing with social media – “I don’t even think about it. I don’t care,” he said – it’s still relevant on his team and in his league. Even though McCarthy isn’t a fan of Twitter and Facebook as either, he also has to deal with it.

“I won’t even let my daughter have a Facebook account, so I think that tells you what I think about Twitter,” McCarthy said. “I wouldn’t even know how to access a Twitter account right now. I understand it’s an important part of the network, but that’s something personally I have zero interest in.”

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Posted on: January 29, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 8:51 pm
 

Rodgers talks IR issue, Barnett bails on Twitter

Posted by Will Brinson

Remember that whole Packers picture controversy? The one where several members of the team on IR were upset that the team wouldn't let them take part in the picture ? And then the team relented and let them be in the pic after all ?

Yeah, Mike McCarthy didn't like it (he thought it got overblown) and you have to think Packers fans didn't like it either. But Aaron Rodgers talked about it Saturday, and there's a good chance his words could stir the pot again.

"Well, I’ll say this," Rodgers said per Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee . "I was on IR back in 2006, and I chose to stick around and finish out the season with my guys and be here every game. Some of those guys didn’t. And so, we love them, we care about them, we don’t wish injury on anybody, but this is a group of guys that's really come together and has been great to work with. It's been great to work with the guys we brought in midseason, some of them, and the young guys. Some of the guys who were injured, you know, they are still part of this team, but some of them didn’t choose to stick around."

Those comments are just vague enough to avoid any public perception that Rodgers is pointing fingers, but it's pretty obvious that he is at least speaking to Nick Barnett and Jermichael Finley.

Both those players were on IR, both were absent from the Packers' facility after their season-ending injuries, and both were quite active on Twitter following their exclusion from the picture.

It remains to be seen whether Rodgers' comments actually create any sort of stir, but Nick Barnett (not-so-coincidentally) is deleting his Twitter account.

"Goodbye Twitter ... It was fun while it lasted ... But we need to focus on important things," Barnett tweeted. "Before I delete this page I just want to say I was never trying to be a distraction ... I am [a] Packer have been one for 8 years going on 9 years."

Look, everyone will tell you that this "controversy" isn't a big deal. And it probably isn't. But there's certainly something a little discomforting for Green Bay and Packers fans when the biggest story surrounding the team is a totally meaningless team photo distraction that it can't seem to shake.

Oh yes, and all of this happening before media week starts. Which means it's not the last that we've heard of it.

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Posted on: January 26, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Packers flip policy, get everyone in team photo

Posted by Will Brinson

When 50 or so* members of the Packers roster placed on IR weren't invited to take part in the team's photo, and that caused quite a bit of commotion amongst the media, fans and the players.

As soon as the story mushroomed, though, players like Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett quickly took to the Twitter-waves in order to quash any talk of insubordination.

Thankfully, the Packers reciprocated their team-first attitude by allowing everyone on the squad and IR to join in on the team photo.

According to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the picture will take place in Dallas on the Friday before the Super Bowl and will feature everyone involved.

Hey, 'tis the season of overblown NFL storylines, and thankfully, this one can go die a quick death. Clearly, Green Bay would rather purchase, as Josh noted, a wide-angle lens than deal with a lot of unnecessary drama around a team looking to win as many championships without Brett Favre as they did with him.

*May be approximate

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Posted on: January 25, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 8:41 pm
 

Packers exclude injured players from team photo

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When LB Nick Barnett and TE Jermichael Finley discovered they weren’t invited to participate in the official team Super Bowl photo next week, they were clearly disappointed. They immediately took to their Twitter accounts to show their displeasure.

Barnett called it "sad," and Finley said it was "not cool".

They weren’t nasty about it; but they clearly were hurt and felt disrespected nonetheless.

But, simply put, there are too many players on IR (15 in all) to put them all in the same photo with the rest of the team. That’s the Packers stance anyway.

"It was a team decision driven by the sheer number of players on IR. Our primary focus is to get the team ready to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every decision we make is about trying to win a world championship," a team spokesman said in a statement to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

According to the paper, the IR players won’t travel to Dallas until Thursday. The rest of the team will have already been in town three days by then, and the team photo is usually taken at Media Day, which is scheduled for Tuesday. But the injured players will stand on the sidelines during the game and be afforded the same benefits their teammates receive.

But the lack of a photo, because there are too many injured players, has to be a real kick in the torn ACL.

Fortunately, the players backed off a bit from their statements on Tuesday afternoon.

"I was not trying to be a distraction nor was I downing the organization they have done so much for me," Barnett wrote.

"This next two weeks is about the unbelievable success of my teammates and last thing I want is to be (is a) distraction," Finley wrote.

Sounds like the Packers haven’t heard about the latest photographic technology that could accommodate everybody that played on their team this season.

I think it's called “wide-angle lens.”

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Posted on: November 3, 2010 8:38 pm
 

Jermichael Finley's scary second surgery

Posted by Andy Benoit

Gotta love Jermichael Finley. Weeks after Sports Illustrated ran a detailed article about the prevalence of staph infection and how NFL players and teams hate to talk about it, the Packers tight end told 540 ESPN Milwaukee that he incurred the dreaded ailment (or something that sounds very, very similar to it). Finley, true to form, nonchalantly shared details that surely had everyone in the Packers public relations office cringing: J. Finley (US Presswire)

“I had a second surgery. Nobody knows about it,” he said. “I had caught a real small infection in my knee, so I had to go in about a week ago, had to go back under and get the infection out. I was in the hospital for two days. I’m surprised nobody knew about it. I had to get all these antibiotics in me, get blood drawn four or five times a day. It’s terrible. Right now, I’ve got this IV in my chest, a central line.

Nobody knew about the surgery. Some guys over at the facility had it, and it’s floating around the locker room. I had to go in, it was emergency surgery. I had a 105 fever, I called Doc (team physician Pat McKenzie) and said, ‘I’m not feeling too good,’ and we had to rush in and clean out the infection. I don’t know what it’s called. I guess you could call it a staph infection, but I don’t think that’s what it was. But I had to rush in and they put a central line in my chest. I won’t get this taken out for another month and a half. Three times a day I have to get antibiotics put through it. Courtney (Finley’s wife), she’s my doctor right now.”

In an NFL.com article, Finley is quoted as saying, “It's the exact same infection that Tom Brady had. I was running that 105 fever for a good 12, 15 hours. I think I survived it because we caught it so fast.”

The Patriots and Brady, of course, have never spoken about what exactly Brady had. (But they’re probably thrilled that Finley brought it up.)

Finley is a player you could chat with all day. So while we’re on the topic of him, here’s an entertaining little story he shared in that same interview with 540 ESPN Milwaukee about meeting his wife:

"I got married real young. Courtney and me, we’ve been married three years. I think as a young lady, she’s real, real mature. She’s stuck through thick and thin with me. We met at Texas. I went there a year before her, and she was moving into the dorms and her mom and dad were walking her in to move in, and I was the first thing that crossed her path. And her dad said, “That’s the guy you don’t want to marry.” And the next thing he knows, I’m at his house for a Fourth of July party. He did not like that at all. He came around, though. We’re the best friends ever now. But he didn’t like my tattoos. That’s why he didn’t want her talking to me."

As far as Finley’s knee goes, it’s coming along great. In all likelihood, he’ll be 100 percent healthy come 2011.

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Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:40 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 2:42 pm
 

Jermichael Finley to IR, Brady Poppinga surgery

Posted by Andy Benoit
B. PoppingaJ. Finley
It almost seems like the Packers have more injured players than players in general these days. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that linebacker Brady Poppinga suffered a torn meniscus against the Dolphins on Sunday. Like tight end Jermichael Finley, Poppinga will undergo surgery. Once doctors see the damage firsthand, they’ll assess how long he’ll be out.

Hopefully, it will be better news for Poppinga than it was for Finley. It was originally thought that Finley would be out 3-4 weeks. Then, it was 8-10 weeks. Monday, the Packers placed the budding start on Injured Reserve.

The absence of Poppinga would be damaging, especially in the short term. The Packers have already lost starting inside linebacker Nick Barnett for the season. Nickel linebacker Brandon Chillar is battling a shoulder injury. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews is nursing a bad hamstring.

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