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Great Finley Article

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by NelsonsLongCatch, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    There are many times when winning the battle to sign the best player at a position in the free-agent market is a cause for euphoria.

    That type of feeling will almost certainly not be the one experienced by the team that prevails in acquiring the services of tight end Jermichael Finley (assuming he is not given the franchise tag by Green Bay).

    Finley is by far the leading potential unrestricted tight end in free agency, an achievement that would normally be a huge plus, but it really doesn't accurately reflect his performance level. In fact, saying Finley is one of the best tight ends in the league really overstates the case. If one reviews his numbers with an objective eye, it becomes clear that he falls well short of being a top-notch tight end.

    To illustrate this, let's start by looking at Finley's route depth metrics from this past season:

    Jermichael Finley's 2011 Stats

    Route DepthCompAttYdsTDPenPen YdsYPA
    Short (1-10 yards) 31 47 302 4 0 0 6.4
    Medium (11-19 yards) 20 32 330 4 2 -5 9.6
    Deep (20-29 yards) 3 9 96 0 0 0 10.7
    Bomb (30+ yards) 1 3 39 0 0 0 13.0
    Total 55 91 767 8 2 -5 8.2
    Vertical (11+ yards) 24 44 465 4 2 -5 10.0
    Stretch Vertical (20+ yards) 4 12 135 0 0 0 11.3

    If these numbers are viewed in a vacuum, they are solid, but remember that these are the numbers Finley posted in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense while Rodgers was setting an all-time record in passer rating (122.5) and becoming only the fifth quarterback since 1990 to tally a yards per attempt (YPA) total of 9 yards or higher (9.2).

    Another way to view Finley's season is to note a point I made in an article posted in January that said the New York Giants' pass catchers were better than the Packers'.

    I wrote that Jake Ballard/Bear Pascoe/Travis Beckum were more effective collectively: "It might come as something of a surprise to find that the Giants' trio had numbers that were quite comparable to the much more heralded Finley. The Giants' threesome actually bested Finley in season-long YPA (10.0 for the Giants' trio versus 8.2 for Finley) and did so on a similar number of targets (84 for the Giants, 93 for Finley)."

    Some Packers fans got upset over that remark because it used a trio of players to compare against Finley, but consider how those YPA totals ranked against the YPA marks of the five Pro Bowl tight ends from this past season: Antonio Gates (8.9), Tony Gonzalez (7.6), Jimmy Graham (8.7), Jermaine Gresham (6.8) and Rob Gronkowski (10.7).

    New York's tight ends were nearly as productive on a YPA basis as the top tight end in the NFL, while Finley bested only an aging tight end near the end of a very long career (Gonzalez) and Gresham, who was limited as his rookie QB gained a feel for that offense. The truth of the matter is the comparison was more than fair and Finley was on the losing end of it.

    Gonzalez's poor YPA total might suggest that Finley should have made the NFC Pro Bowl roster in front of him, but if that were the argument, Finley would lose to other NFC tight ends, including Jason Witten (8.8 YPA on 110 targets), Brent Celek (8.7 YPA on 95 targets) and Vernon Davis (8.8 YPA on 93 targets).

    Or one could compare Finley to Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew's overall impact on his offense as ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert did when he nearly chose Pettigrew over Finley as his tight end on the 2011 All-NFC North team.

    That makes six tight ends in the NFC who could make a case to be as good as or better than Finley, and that is before including Fred Davis in the discussion. If the AFC tight ends were added to the mix, Finley would have a tough time claiming a top-10 spot in the league at this position, and that is before the addition of two potentially very good NFL-caliber tight ends (Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen) in the 2012 draft.

    Another way of looking at this is to take heed of how Finley performed as compared with the Packers' other prime pass catchers.

    Jordy Nelson (13.6), James Jones (11.4), Greg Jennings (10.1) and Donald Driver (8.7) all outpaced Finley in the YPA metric. That Finley couldn't top Driver, an aging wideout with diminishing skills that led to his worst reception and yardage totals in a decade, speaks volumes as to where he ranked in this pass-catching hierarchy.

    The most obvious counterargument to all of this is to say that a team will not be paying Finley for what he has done in the past but rather for what he will do for them in the future.

    However, most of the time the best predictor of future performance is past performance, and Finley has been around long enough to have a decent sample size to look at. When it comes to past performance, Finley's history in a nutshell is this: He was rarely used in his rookie campaign, posted a very good YPA (9.7) in his second year, had an injury-shortened third season and a mediocre fourth season.

    There is no doubt he has the physical skills to be a dominant tight end, but so far that player has shown up only once in four seasons, and, oddly enough, that wasn't his contract year. He has also struggled with drops, as even Packers fans defensive about his performance have to admit.

    Until Finley shows he is capable of performing at a top level on a consistent basis, or unless a team is in dire need of a tight end (as could be the case with the Giants if they decide to address their tight end issue in free agency rather than through the draft), it would be folly to pay him top dollar in a multi-year deal as a free agent based on what he's done. It would be more of a leap of faith.
     
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  2. GreenBlood

    GreenBlood Banned Banned

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    Well, I hope other GMs take the view expressed in this article, but I don't think they're like to be as stupid as the guy who wrote this. Apparently he didn't take into account how many targets Rodgers has when he didn't look at him "in a vacuum".
     
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  3. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    I love it.
     
  4. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    Does anyone here think Finley has lived up to the expectations on him?
     
  5. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    I've been fairly underwhelmed/disappointment. I love the guy, but I'm hoping for more of an impact next season. I believe in YOTTO!
     
  6. Southpaw

    Southpaw Endorphin Junkie

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    From a production standpoint not quite. But there is a reason we, the Saints and the Patriots had great statistical offensive seasons...we all have a big receiving threat at tight end. They stretch the field and command double coverage.

    Rob Gronkowski was nothing more than a decoy with his busted ankle in the superbowl and the Giants still doubled him all game.
     
  7. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo Cheesehead

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    How to explain the efficiency, and the cohesiveness of our offense in the 2010 playoffs and Super Bowl.

    Rodgers game in the Super Bowl, and in Atlanta, were basically historically great stuff. He was missing the "threat" of Finley there.

    I'm on the fence on Finley.
    He just isn't a Packer kind of person it seems.

    But I know he's got skills. It seems he lost a lot of speed though this year. I didn't see him getting deep on ANYONE like we saw from guys like Vernon Davis, Aaron Hernandez, even big Gronk.
     
  8. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    I'm more afraid of what Finley could become if he leaves. Can you imagine if he signs with the Bears and tears up AJ Hawk twice a year for the next five years? Finley is definately worth a franchise tag. I would love a cap friendly three or four year deal.
     
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  9. okcpackerfan

    okcpackerfan Cheesehead

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    I think the original post was a bunch of rubbish honestly. Finley is really good and people just need to realize that. It's very simple, take Finley and compare him to just 1 tight end on other teams. It's a very short list of people I would rather have than him.
     
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  10. GreenBlood

    GreenBlood Banned Banned

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    Finley had the most productive season of any TE in Packer history, which is what I expected.
     
  11. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    You keep bringing up this point, but what does it mean? Does it make somebody an elite player just becuase a person has the best season at a position for a team? I don't get why this stat is your "end all be all" about Finley.

    Nobody is saying Finley is a bad player. The article was about him being over-rated.
     
  12. PFanCan

    PFanCan That's MISTER Cheesehead, to you.

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    Nice analysis, but I disagree with the conclusion.

    Though Finley has not lived up to my expectations quite yet- primarly due to his inability to shine when most needed, I still think that he has played a critical role to providing a credible threat from the TE position. And his production still set a team TE record-- so he has been quite productive-- just not at key moments.

    In fact, turn a few of his drops into big first downs and this thread probably doesn't happen. The single fact that the Giants specifically game-planned for him in the last game is enough evidence for me to know that Finley is key. "Don't let #88 beat us" (or something like that) was written on their chalk board.

    I hope TT resigns him. Only upside, imo.
     
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  13. fettpett

    fettpett Cheesehead

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    biggest difference between the Packers, Saints and Pats is that only Green Bay has more than 2 targets that included the TE. Pats, Welker and Gronk, Saints, Graham and Colston.
     
  14. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    One thing to consider: We look at Finley's 2011 and say, "Wow, what a bad year." He was only the number 3 receiving tight end in football and was number 16 (if I recall correctly) overall for touchdowns.

    Yeah, bad year, he was only the third best.
     
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  15. fettpett

    fettpett Cheesehead

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    He was tied for 11th overall with 8

    not only that, but he set Packer RECORDS for a TE, and had the 3nd most TD's on the team behind Jennings and Nelson.
     
  16. Rocky11

    Rocky11 Superbowl bound Pack

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    His best year was the year he was injured. Not because he didn't play but because the media doted on him all year long raising the expectations of everyone. My main pet peeve about him is that he seemed to have most of his drops at the wrong time. When we needed a first down or touchdown. Overall I think he will get better but too many untimely drops for my liking.
     
  17. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    That's very arguable. The Saints have Coltson, Mecham, Henderson and Moore. Not to mention Sproles was a killer this year. The Saints have as many weapons as the Packers.
     
  18. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Hopefully WHEN we resign him he is going to become the go to guy, you can always count on guy, we know he can be. Remember all the griping about the contract Crosby got. Boy did he earn it this year.
     
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  19. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    Finley will live up to our expectations...mark my word.
     
  20. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    So let it be written...So let it be done!
     
  21. wizard 87

    wizard 87 Old Enough To Know Better

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    He has not. He was a risk because of his immaturity when we drafted him. The guy has an issue with engaging his mouth with his brain in park.
     
  22. fettpett

    fettpett Cheesehead

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    Look at the numbers though, Nelson, Jennings, and Finely are all in the top 50 receivers, NO only had 2, Graham and Colston. Then when you look at just WR's James Jones had more yards than Meachum and Moore. Sporles had a great season. Also remember that Brees threw 657 times compared to Rodgers 502, just statistically the Saints are going to have more rec. The Packers offense was much more efficient than the Saints and out scored them too.

    Rodgers threw consistently to more players per game, think it was on average 8 different guys per game.
     
  23. PFanCan

    PFanCan That's MISTER Cheesehead, to you.

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    Am hoping he lives up to our expectations while wearing the green and gold.
     
  24. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    I understand what you're saying, but the raw numbers are comparable:

    Lance Moore caught 52 balls for 627 yards and 8 TD's.
    Darren Sproles caught 86 balls for 710 yards and 7 TDs.
    Robert Meachem caught 40 balls for 620 yards and 6 TD's.
    James Jones caught 38 balls for 635 and 7 TD's.
     
  25. Rocky11

    Rocky11 Superbowl bound Pack

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    I hope he turns out to be a great player. He could be so valuable as a clutch receiver. He has the size and speed to be open for critical third downs. The commentators all say that he runs routes like a wide receiver. Now if we can get him catching like one we will have a lethal weapon.
     

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