Finn straw that stirs Tiki's drink

You'll notice that fullback Jim Finn's name wasn't even mentioned in our story about the questions New York needs answered for its running game to flourish this season. That's because there are no questions surrounding Finn and his ability to pave the way for Tiki Barber.

Yes, Finn had a grand total of three rushes last season for seven yards, but he more than did his job, paving the way for Barber's record-breaking 1,518-yard performance.

"He is that classic underrated and under-appreciated guy," Barber said. "I wouldn't have success without him. Everything he does he makes things easier for me."

Finn realizes his is a thankless existence – and he couldn't be happier.

"It's a blue-collar type job," he said. "I get my satisfaction out of doing my job and having the tailback have success. For me, Tiki's success is good enough satisfaction for me. That makes me feel like I did my job."

He's entering his third year as Barber's caddy, and the Fair Lawn, NJ native didn't hesitate when the Giants wanted the free agent back this offseason.

"I have comfort here, my family's here," said Finn, who usually has countless family and friends at home games. "I love the organization."

And the organization's main man – Barber – appreciates him as well.

"I had that great kind of relationship with Greg (Comella) when he was here, but now I think I have it even better with Finny," Barber said. "He's huge for me in the run offense. A lot of misdirection and things that I do is predicated on how well he blocks and how well he throws the defense off."

Running backs coach Jerald Ingram says Finn's strength is his ability to embrace his role and play within himself.

"Jim is extremely important," Ingram said. "That's the thing that makes Jim good. He's a very smart fullback that knows how to play the game. He has the ability to play above the Xs and Os in a blocking sense.

"Jim knows what he is, he knows what he has to get done and he knows how to make a difference."

Believe it or not, Finn is totally content never being handed the ball.

"I don't even want to carry the ball, to be honest with you," he said. "Guys coming at you from all directions. I'm not as shifty as a Tiki Barber. It's too dangerous. I'd rather just hit one guy square in the head than get hit from every direction. I really have no desire to carry the ball."

However, Finn, the fourth-highest rusher in Penn history, is human, and admitted that he occasionally wouldn't mind being in the spotlight. Last year Finn caught 15 passes for 112 yards. In 2003, he had a 27-yard catch-and-run in overtime in Washington to set up the game-winning field goal.

"I would love to catch the ball out of the backfield and makes plays," he admitted. "Who doesn't want to make plays?"

"He also catches the ball very well," Ingram stated. "He probably catches the ball as well as anyone on the team. He has great hands and does a great job with that."

Barber notes that Finn's history running the ball helped make him a successful fullback.

"He was a tailback so he blocks like a tailback," Barber said. "Just the way he sets up his block. A lot of times when I'm running, I give the impression I'm going to stretch to the sideline and then I'll cut back underneath. He does the same thing with his blocks. He'll look like he's going to go outside and then kick back underneath just as I am. We're on the same page, even without talking about it. It makes for a lot of big plays."

The two have a connection both on and off the field.

"We hang out," Barber said. "We go out in the City. It's important. It builds a level of trust that you can't develop just in the classroom or on the football field. It brings a familiarity too. You know where his thoughts are or where his mind is."

"We connect on the field, that's the important thing," Finn added. "We have a great relationship and we work well on the field. We are friends, but the most important thing is what we do on the field."

Another thing Finn does well on the field is cover kicks, as his 53 career special teams tackles will attest.

"It all comes back to wanting to do your job and knowing your role," the 6-0, 245-pounder said. "Whether my role is to throw touchdown passes, block or block kicks, I want to do my role and do it well. The mindset is just wanting to do your job.

"My satisfaction and what motivates me is to be the best that I can be."

To offensive coordinator John Hufnagel, Finn's the total package.

"When we're in the two backs offense Jim Finn does a nice job for us," he said. "He's a good receiver out of the backfield, he's got very good hands, he's a smart guy, good with the protection scheme, and he does a good job keeping the quarterback centered."

"I love having Jim around," Ingram added. "He's a great guy. He plays hard.

"One thing about Jim, you can count on that he's going to be there, he's going to be there every day, working his tail off to win a game."

The Giants Beat Top Stories