Finley is Packers X-Factor vs. 49ers
If you have been following the Green Bay Packers over the past week, you are surely familiar with all of the attention that the backup quarterback position is getting. The team let go of last year’s back up in Graham Harrell, leaving BJ Coleman and Vince Young to battle for the backup spot. As it turned out, neither won the job and both are looking for new teams while veteran Seneca Wallace will backup Aaron Rodgers, at least for now.
Prior to the game of musical chairs at quarterback, much attention was being given to the team’s running game. Who would the Packers keep on the final roster? Who would start? How often will Green Bay really run the ball this season?
With those hot debates seemingly settled, it’s time to turn the attention to this week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Hopefully the backup quarterback position does not become a topic of conversation. If it does, something bad has happened in the city by the bay. As far as the run game, it’s the first game and against a tough 9ers defense. I don’t expect a breakout debut by Eddie Lacy or even by the committee of backs that the Packers will likely utilize.
My X-Factor for the Packers in this game is tight end Jermichael Finley. I’ll be returning my regular weekly ”Keys To The Game” post later this week and this will surely be one of them. Much of the attention on this rematch has centered around the Packers defense and how they can avoid another embarrassment at the hands of 9ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the read option. Let’s not, however, forget that the Packers’ biggest weapon is Rodgers and a quarterback’s best friend against a tough defense is often his tight end.
While San Francisco returns studs in cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety Donte Whitner, they will rely on Tarell Brown, CJ Spillman and rookie Eric Reid to fill in at the other corner and safety spots, respectively. The 9ers secondary is still good, but it is also the softest spot in the team’s defense.
In last year’s opener, Finley was targeted a season-high 11 times. He caught seven balls and had a touchdown. The Packers still lost the game, but Finley was able to get open and find the end zone. Finley has had good preseason and seems as focused as ever. He is entering a contract year and if he’s not going to be in Green Bay beyond 2013, he wants to get paid wherever he does end up. He surely wants to get off to a fast start this year.
Earlier this week, Rodgers said that one of his priorities is to find a way to get the ball to 88, that being Finley. While my first thought was not to telegraph your offensive game plan, my next though was “how does a defense stop Finley, Cobb, Nelson and the run?”. It will be a tough task for the 49ers, but they have risen to many challenges in the recent past and have won two in a row against the Packers.
Can Finley be the biggest key to this game and get the Packers past their recent nemesis? I’m sure we will see Rodgers and the Packers do everything they can to answer that question. Let us know your thoughts.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason at: Jason Perone
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