Opportunity knocks, err, blocks for Finley

The rookie tight end likely will be activated for the first time against his hometown Cowboys.

Jermichael Finley knows what his weakness is, and thanks to butting heads daily with one of the Green Bay Packers' defensive leaders, he says he's getting better.

"You ain't got no choice but to block good if you're going against Aaron Kampman every day," he said after Thursday's practice.

Finley, a third-round draft pick from the University of Texas who makes his home in Dallas, was a game-day inactive the first two weeks. But with No. 2 tight end Tory Humphrey and starting fullback Korey Hall question marks for Sunday's game against Dallas because of knee sprains, Finley likely will be activated for the first time in his fledgling career.

"I think this is a great opportunity for Jermichael," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's had an excellent week of practice so far. He's really taken on to the challenge."

Finley, who played just two seasons at Texas, came to Green Bay as an athletic but raw prospect befitting the basketball skills that made him a two-sport recruit at the University of Arizona. Catching passes rarely was a problem during training camp.

"My big problem was blocking," Finley said. "Just came in and showed them I can block. I'm not a finished product. Just go out and keep grinding it out and getting better and better."

Finley's opportunity would come at Humphrey's expense. Humphrey, who saw his 2007 season end with a broken leg sustained on the first day of training camp, injured the knee while blocking during the third quarter at Detroit. He finished the game — including a dominating block to spring Brandon Jackson's fourth-quarter touchdown run — but the knee swelled after the game.

Humphrey thinks he'll be ready for the Cowboys. Both he and Hall will test their injuries at practice on Friday. Even if both are deemed fit for Sunday, McCarthy said it's likely Finley will be activated, anyway.

Finley swears he wasn't a Cowboys fan growing up, as he spent his youthful energies on basketball. Now, he's putting his professional focus on blocking and special teams, neither of which were an emphasis placed on him by the Longhorns.

"It will be a great opportunity to show them what I can do against a big, big opponent, a big rival," Finley said. "They've got the big names. The ‘Boys. It's the world's team."

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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