Tom Silverstein addresses the Jermichael Finley question today at jsonline – The subtitle of the article is “Focus on Finley puzzles receivers”. First of all, our WRs shouldn’t mind a bit if Finley is getting more targets because it’s indisputable that he does positive things with the ball when he is targeted – he helps our team. And my guess is that while all our WRs are eager to help/get the ball, they are the kinds of people who ultimately will be fine as long as we win.
But one thought I came away with after reading this article is this: right now, McCarthy and Philbin are doing their best to establish Jermichael Finley as the big-time threat they know he can be. In the last few games, they’ve done a very good job of doing this. When Mike McCarthy is coaching at his best (like in 2007), he can be a keen observer of mismatches. He and Philbin have clearly discovered that Finley is a nightmare match-up for opposing defenses – especially in light of the fact that defenses have to be very careful about shifting too much coverage to Finley as it may leave them thin against Jennings, Driver and Jones/Nelson (or even thin against the run if LBs are in coverage). I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next couple weeks, defenses do start to focus more on Finley as he’s likely to continue to cause damage if they don’t. But I’m pretty sure that when they start doing this, it will open up favorable match-ups for the WRs (perhaps more single coverage situations) AND, possibly even help the running game if opposing LBs are drawn into Finley duty. Getting into a situation like this is exactly what McCarthy (and really any coach) wants: making the defense hesitate even for a moment because it’s unsure who will be getting the ball. Eventually, ideally, the defense will be stuck with a decision between rolling over more help to cover Finley and leaving the WRs/RBs less covered or allowing Finley to continue going nuts.
This is a good situation, even if it leaves our WRs “puzzled”.