If you trust what you were hearing from Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy during his final press conference of the 2011-12 season Wednesday, then you also should have no worries about where tight end Jermichael Finley will playing next season.
He’s not going anywhere.
McCarthy praised Finley on several different occasions, calling him a “talented young man” who has a “great work ethic” and wants to be “a great player.” McCarthy also said that the Packers “need him out there” and that Finley has a lot of room for improvement.
If the Packers head coach had even entertained the thought of letting a 25-year-old tight end walk in free agency, this amount of praise would seem unlikely. McCarthy obviously wants and plans on Finley being a part of the Packers’ roster next season, and I’d say there is a very small chance of the opposite becoming reality.
Finley, who is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, caught 55 passes for 767 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. Most had expectations that far exceeded that output this season, but drops and inconsistency plagued him at times. In the Packers’ 37-20 loss to the Giants in the NFC Divisional Round, for example, Finley dropped two passes and had what some have called a miscommunication with quarterback Aaron Rodgers on an important third down play in the second half. But nonetheless, fans throughout the 2011 season have been hard on the enigmatic tight end.