Green Bay Packers will count on Marshall Newhouse to protect right side
Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday, July 21, 2013
He will be given every opportunity to win the starting right tackle job this season.
But the team insists he still has to win it.
“I just think that's unfair if you box in a guy and say he's got it,” said offensive line coach James Campen in May. “They've got to earn it from Day 1 and every year is a different year.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he wants competition at the right tackle position when training camp breaks this week. But for right now, in terms of experience alone, Newhouse has to be the front-runner. He worked with the starting offensive line throughout a good deal of the off-season practices.
Still, the Packers will consider the other challengers: Don Barclay and, possibly if healthy, Derek Sherrod. Draft picks David Bakhtiari, who played right tackle in 2010 and left in 2011-12 for Colorado might get some work there as well as J.C. Tretter. For Tretter, who may be better suited as a guard, any work will depend on how well and how quickly his broken ankle, suffered in mid-May, has healed.
The 6-foot-4, 319-pound Newhouse will not be easy to unseat as a starter. He started all 16 games at left tackle last season. The only other offensive lineman to start every game was Josh Sitton. But in the offseason, the coaches shook up the offensive line and moved Bryan Bulaga from right to left tackle.
Newhouse has played well on the right side before. In 2011, he stepped in for an injured Bulaga against Chicago and turned in a solid performance. In all he started three games at right tackle that year.
But the analyst reviews of his 2012 performance were underwhelming. Newhouse allowed a team-high 11 sacks last year, and if Bulaga had not gotten injured with a small fracture in his hip socket in Week 9, there was speculation that he might have been moved there at some point.
It is important to remember that last year was only his second year of play (he didn't play as a rookie in 2010) but these are his final totals (from Bob McGinn's season-ending grades): After allowing 41½ pressures and 14½ “bad” runs as first-year starter, he allowed 42½ and 13½ last year with more playing time as well.
The Packers won't just be looking to protect their $110 million dollar man, Aaron Rodgers. They will certainly also be looking for a solid run blocker since they dedicated two picks in their draft to take backs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.
Newhouse enters his final year of his rookie contract with added incentive.
Everyone will want to see how big of a jump Barclay can make from last year to this, his second year. The right tackle from West Virginia was starting at the end of last year and functioning effectively.
Bulaga was lost for the season in Game 9 with a hip injury. Left guard T.J. Lang shifted to right tackle, where he played three games. When Lang hurt his ankle midway through the first Minnesota game, Barclay got the call.
Barclay, 6 feet, 4 inches and 309 pounds, doesn't have the size and range of Bulaga, but he is known for a more physical and aggressive style.
The Packers will also probably make some kind of decision on Sherrod.
He has only played in five games as a rookie in 2011 before suffering a broken right tibia and fibula in a game against Kansas City on Dec. 18.
He underwent surgery, was placed on injured reserve and spent the entire 2012 season on the PUP list.
“I'm really counting on Derek Sherrod to be a factor,” McCarthy said in April. “He's a different man since the second surgery after the season.”
So he's making progress.”