Newhouse Seeks Spot To Call Home

The only Packers rookie draft pick to not see any action this past season worked at multiple positions in practice. Matt Tevsh caught up with Marshall Newhouse in late January to discuss his first NFL season and future with the Packers.

The 2010 season for Marshall Newhouse was one of major adjustment.

A fifth-round selection, Newhouse was the only rookie among the Green Bay Packers' seven draft choices who did not get a chance to contribute on game days, ending a streak of sorts for the 6-foot-4, 319-pound offensive lineman.

"This was the first real break in playing football that I've had since high school," said Newhouse.

At TCU, Newhouse never missed a game. Among his 52 career contests, he was a three-year starter at left tackle, posting 38 starts from his sophomore to senior seasons. Before that, he was a two-year letterman at Lake Highlands High in Dallas.

But in his first season in Green Bay, he had to sit. He found himself on the game day inactive list 15 times before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 31, just before the regular-season finale against the Bears.

"You always want to try and get on the field, but the season has still been positive," said Newhouse in late January. "But the situation just didn't go that way (with me getting on the field), and I handled it the best way I could. I'm just trying to get better."

While a back "flare up" late in the season put Newhouse on IR, Newhouse said the injury calmed down in about a week. The move was just precautionary, done more so for roster reasons than anything -- the Packers re-signed center/guard Evan Dietrich-Smith to fill his spot.

Newhouse is working on getting stronger and maintaining his body for the long haul to prevent any issues while also being able to fine-tune his game.

"I definitely got better in my run blocking (this past season)," said Newhouse, who mainly participated in practice on the scout team, "just doing our drills over and over, especially during individual time and learning how we run block, getting our pads lower and lower and just realizing that low man wins. I ran block a lot in college, but just getting used to this system, I'm far and away a lot better than when I got here."

Newhouse was part of a versatile TCU offensive attack his last season in college. The Horned Frogs ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring, total offense and rushing in 2009 amidst an undefeated regular season (12-0).

The issue now with Newhouse will be what position he plays. A left tackle by trade, the Packers worked him extensive in training camp at left guard and left tackle. Not much changed during the regular season as Newhouse said he continued to work at both spots and even played some right tackle.

This Packers' coaching staff always has preached versatility to its offensive linemen, so Newhouse expects to be moving around to different positions again in training camp. Much of his immediate future could depend on other personnel on the team – who comes back, who leaves and who comes in.

Starting left guard Daryn Colledge and backup guard Jason Spitz are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, and it is likely that at least one of them will be gone.

Right tackle Mark Tauscher will be 34 next season and coming off another major injury. He was placed on IR with a shoulder Nov. 12 and played only five games. He is set to make a base salary of $4.1 million, a number that could swell to more than $4.5 million with bonuses.

Though starting left tackle Chad Clifton played well down the stretch this season and into a Super Bowl run, he is no spring chicken, either, set to turn 35 before training camp opens.

And the Packers no doubt will add a few bodies along the offensive line through the draft while continuing to develop young players T.J. Lang (headed into his third season) and Nick McDonald (second).

"If (moving around to different spots) means I have a better opportunity to play, then yeah (I'll do it)," said Newhouse. "I have the ability. It's not like, ‘You're a jack of all trades, you're OK at a bunch of stuff,' I have the ability to be good at a bunch of positions, so I've been getting reps and different positions.

"There's a lot numbers games going on. It's really just when you get the opportunity, be ready for the opportunity."


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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com


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