Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley makes a one-handed catch during training camp practice last week at Ray Nitschke Field. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette
Ask Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley a question and he will respond with an honest answer, no matter what others think.
When asked on Tuesday how many points the Packers could score this season with their high-powered offense, Finley replied: “Put it like this, we should score every time we get the ball. You add that up.”
If the Packers average 10 possessions per game and score touchdowns half the time and field goals the other half, that adds up to 50 points per game.
Does Finley really think the Packers are capable of shattering the NFL single-season scoring record? He didn’t say that directly, but it’s apparent he was serious when discussing the offense’s potential.
“The drive we got in this locker room is amazing,” he said. “I think this is going to be a special team right here.
“It’s going to be deadly.”
Finley is known for speaking his mind and making bold statements.
A year ago after the Family Night scrimmage, Finley made a Super Bowl or bust proclamation. It caused a minor stir, with some critics suggesting Finley should keep his mouth shut.
But Finley proved prophetic when the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl. He didn’t regret his statement then, and he certainly doesn’t now.
“I was just around my team 24-7, I knew what kind of chemistry we had in the locker room so that’s why I came out and said that last (year),” Finley said. “We got the same chemistry this year and I can — it’s like déjà vu — I can say it again.”
Neither Finley’s teammates, nor General Manager Ted Thompson, seem concerned about the tight end offering bulletin board material for opponents.
“J-Mike is a very competitive guy on the field and he’s very outgoing in the way he talks and things like that,” Thompson said. “I don’t mind that. I think you can cross the line sometimes, but I have not seen where J-Mike has crossed the line. I think his competitive spirit and his desire to be really good — that’s what he really wants to be, is really good — is what drives him. And I think that’s OK.”
As long as it’s OK with the boss, Finley will keep talking.
His goal is to help the Packers repeat as champion. Unlike last year, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5, he wants to play in the Super Bowl this time around.
“It would mean a lot, since (I) was a kid, that’s where you want to be,” Finley said. “Not sitting on the sidelines, not looking, not watching on TV, but right there in the action playing in it. That’s a big thing. I’ve been working hard in the offseason to contribute this year and help my team get back there.”
Finley has been working out so fervently he lost 15 pounds and weighs 240. He says he’s faster and stronger and in the best shape of his life.
“I’m stoked and ready to go,” he said.
Finley never has played a full season but hopes to change that.
“I need 16 games, man,” he said. “If I get 16 games, I think I can do some damage to a stat sheet, I guarantee you that.”
He was on pace for a monster season before getting hurt last October. Some fear his presence could disrupt the offensive balance the Packers achieved in 2010, and there won’t be enough footballs to go around.
Receiver James Jones doesn’t foresee a problem.
“(Aaron Rodgers) looks for the open guy, and if Jermichael’s open in the middle, which he is a lot, and he (creates) a lot of mismatch problems, keep throwing it to him,” Jones said. “We’re not a selfish group. We do want the ball, but I mean if we’re moving the ball down the field and winning games, that’s all that matters.”
What matters to Finley is that the Packers win and he plays a big role in the team’s success. He will stop at nothing to achieve those goals.
“I’ll be eating here, I’ll be sleeping here, I’ll be doing everything at the stadium,” Finley said.
“It’s going to be one of (those) years where I’m going to be putting in a lot of work and a lot of time at the stadium just to get where I want to be. And that’s (to be) the best at what I do, and the best in the league.”
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MikeVandermause.