Bay Packers' Jermichael Finley (88) is congratulated by
teammate Randall Cobb (18) after Finley's touchdown catch
during the first half of an NFL football game against the
Washington Redskins Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Green Bay,
GREEN BAY —
Jermichael Finley is feeling fine and looking to run over any
defender that gets near him.
This is great
news for the Green Bay Packers.
Finley has 11
catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns heading into Week 3 at
Cincinnati on Sunday. The right knee injury that hampered him in
the past is long gone.
"It makes me
a dangerous player when I don't have to worry about somebody
chopping me in my knee and me tearing something in my knee,"
Finley said Thursday.
"I ain't got
no worries right now. From this point on, it's going to be hard to
hit me and bring me down, I promise you that."
Finley had six
receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's victory
against Washington, including 59 yards after the catch. His
signature play was a 27-yard catch-and-run early in the third
quarter when he broke three tackles and was so physically dominant
that wide receiver James Jones found himself watching instead of
Bay Packers' Jermichael Finley reacts after catching a pass
for a first down during the first half of an NFL preseason
football game against the Seattle Seahawks Friday, Aug. 23,
2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
"I got in
trouble for that, too. I was a fan for a minute when he was
breaking all those tackles, watching," Jones said.
"Unbelievable play. Unbelievable play. Man, that's the type
of stuff he does. I tell him, 'Man, you should never get tackled
by one guy. You should always run through the first defender. I
understand you're big, they're coming at your knees and stuff,
that's part of the game, but you should never get tackled by one
guy.' Once he instills that mindset every play - look out."
That's how the
6-foot-5, 247-pound Finley played when he had his breakthrough
season in 2009. But the next season was cut short by the knee
injury, and it took a while for him to return to normal.
about his knee throughout the 2011 season. That season, like this
one, was a contract year for him, and by his own admission, his
concerns about being hit low altered the way he played.
showing his willingness to get physical last season, when he set a
franchise record for receptions by a tight end with 61 catches for
667 yards. But it wasn't until the second half of the season,
especially on a 40-yard catch-and-run at Detroit on Nov. 18, when
Finley truly looked as if the knee wasn't on his mind. Too many
times before that game, he had allowed one tackler to take him
definitely not the case against the Redskins last Sunday.
amazing. That just shows what an incredible play that was,"
quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "It was one of those plays
that you are going to remember.
"He has been
playing well. He's just been carrying over the things he has been
doing at practice and the game. You play well in practice, you
practice like you play, and that is going to show up in the game.
And Jermichael has been practicing really, really well for that
last year and a half and it is no surprise he is playing so well
Finley put more
bulk to his frame after slimming down before the 2011 season to
play more like a wide receiver than a tight end. According to
STATS LLC, 116 of Finley's 121 yards this season have come after
he's most effective - when he has the ball in his hands and has a
little bit of cushion to work a defender and just decide whether
he wants to lower his shoulder and be physical or outrun
them," Packers tight end coach Jerry Fontenot said.
"He's got a lot of weapons to use. The more that we can get
him in those kinds of situations, then the more successful that
this team can be."
For Finley, it's
merely a matter of keeping the momentum he generated on that
memorable play against Washington.
"It was a
crazy play," he said. "I've done it once before in high
school, broke all of those tackles, but to do it in the NFL where
every tackle is a violent tackle and a must tackle, it's hard to
do that in this league.
right now. I feel awesome, better than I've ever felt."
back Eddie Lacy (concussion) missed his second straight day of
practice but coach Mike McCarthy wasn't ready to rule him out for
Sunday, holding out hope Lacy would be cleared to practice Friday.
If Lacy can't go and fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) is sidelined
as well, the Packers would go into the game with just two running
backs - James Starks and rookie Johnathan Franklin. . Safety
Morgan Burnett (hamstring) did not practice at all Thursday after
doing some work Wednesday, and McCarthy acknowledged Burnett is
"a long shot" to play against the Bengals. . If Kuhn
can't play, McCarthy will use tight ends as fill-ins at fullback,
particularly Andrew Quarless.