Each and every week the mantra for the Green Bay Packers has been “next man up.”
The Packers have been able to overcome injuries that could normally derail any other team’s chances at being a contender. This team is truly unique in its ability to do so, but eventually you have to think there will be a breaking point. Green Bay hasn’t reached that point yet, and in order to avoid it, they will need key players to step up.
We have all heard the hype surrounding Jermichael Finley over the years. That hype has been followed by injury coupled with disappointment. But this year is supposed to be different. Finley looks the part of a superhuman destined to take over the game but he hasn’t. Enter two MAJOR injuries to Randall Cobb and James Jones, and now the spotlight is wide open for Finley to step in and build his case for being an elite tight end.
Gifted with speed, size, and athleticism, Finley is the answer to keeping defenses honest going forward with the losses of two potentially all-pro wide receivers. He is a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses. Defending him with a cornerback is difficult due to his size and strength being too overpowering for most. Trying with a linebacker, as Baltimore attempted, is a mismatch because Finley is typically too fast and as fluid as a receiver.
If you take the approach with a safety to defend him, then that man better be a heck of a player. Most safeties are not good man defenders providing a favorable matchup for Green Bay.
With that said, Sunday should be a showcase for Finley. Cleveland gave up three, yes, count them – three – touchdown passes to Lions’ rookie tight end Joseph Fauria. Anybody who knows football knows that’s something Green Bay should look to exploit early and often.
Finley is as good as any tight end in the league when he is on his game. Green Bay needs him more than ever to endure however long of a stretch they might be without two members of their Big Three. Simply put, as Finley said Sunday, “Next Man Up.” Every Packers’ fan is waiting to see him fulfill his destiny.