Fennell: Packers, LaFleur do not need a dynamic TE

Wendy's Big Show
April 12, 2019 - 4:22 pm

© Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

By Anthony Mandella:

Struck by Browns safety Tashaun Gipson in Week 7 of the 2013 NFL season, tight end Jermichael Finley suffered a bruised spinal cord that ended his career. The Green Bay Packers spent the following five seasons trying to find a dynamic, athletic, playmaking tight end to fill his role in Mike McCarthy's offense. 

In 2014 and 2015, following Finley's devastating injury, the team tried rolling with Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers...that didn't work.

In 2016, Ted Thompson brought in Jared Cook. His injury-plagued season only saw him on the field for five starts and 10 games, but he came the closest to filling Finley's shoes at that point in time. Though his stat sheet wasn't stuffed, he is perhaps best remembered for being on the receiving end of an Aaron Rodgers bullet that set-up the Packers for a trip to the NFC Championship -- it was those kinds of plays, though few and far between, that offered shades of Finley to the Packers' offense. 

Cook left in free agency the following offseason. Enter the Martellus Bennett experiment in 2017...nobody needs to remember that. Jimmy Graham followed in 2018 and brought the most raw, physical ability to the Packers' tight end room since Finley left. But when the team finally found a tight end worthy and capable of taking on the role of "dynamic, offensive weapon", it parted ways with the head coach whose offense hinged on said weapon.

With Mike McCarthy now out, and Matt LaFleur and his offense in, the team might not need to find another Finley-esque presence on offense:

It's unfortunate timing when considering the wealth of tight end talent in the 2019 draft class. Specifically, Iowa Hawkeyes tandem Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson who could both be drafted in the first round according to NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's most recent mock draft. However, just because the talent or value is there doesn't mean either guy would make sense for the Packers at No. 12 or No. 30 overall:

A dive inside the film room shows how Matt LaFleur uses tight ends to set-up the run, not as a primary weapon in the passing attack -- a foundational principle of his offense:

The Wendy's Big Show went inside the tight end film room with Ben Fennell, discussing how LaFleur uses them in his offense. LISTEN BELOW

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