Questions at LT Aren't Limited to Green Bay

Marshall Newhouse is the exception, with 24 of 32 starting left tackles taken in the first or second round, but the position is seen as a weakness around the league. Nonetheless, the Packers finished second in NFL history in scoring, so Newhouse must have been doing something right.

The Green Bay Packers appear to have few worries about left tackle Marshall Newhouse. Or, if they do, those worries are being kept inside the confines of 1265 Lombardi Ave.

Newhouse enters the 2012 season as the presumed starter, with Chad Clifton's release and the broken leg sustained by 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod against Kansas City on Dec. 18.

Of the 33 players who made at least eight starts at left tackle last season, only six allowed more sacks than the eight yielded by Newhouse, according to research by Pro Football Focus.

That would appear to be a cause for alarm bells, especially considering the quarterback's blind side he's protecting is merely the reigning league MVP, Aaron Rodgers.

If the Packers aren't rock solid at left tackle, they're hardly alone. In his Friday Tip Sheet, The Sports Xchange's national NFL writer, Len Pasquarelli, said there is a feeling among personnel people that the higher-profile left tackle spot is the weakest it has been in several years.

That's somewhat surprising, given that franchises have placed so much emphasis on the left tackle spot in the first round of the draft. Based on the depth charts at, 19 of the projected starting left tackles were selected in the first round and five more were taken in the second round. That's three-quarters of the left tackles going in the first two rounds, making Newhouse — a fifth-rounder in 2010 — a rarity at the position.

But it might indeed be the case, with the deficiencies of a few tackles perhaps being masked a bit by the fact they play with quarterbacks whose quick releases in general make all of their offensive linemen look better. Rodgers is at or near the top of any list of quick-release quarterbacks, and his movement skills give him another weapon to prevent sacks.

One NFC personnel chief opined this week that there are "maybe four" premier pass-protection left tackles in the NFL, and that the position is a bit overrated.

Is Newhouse as good as Clifton was just a few years a go? Probably not. But the Packers finished second in NFL history in scoring last season, so he must have been doing something right.

There's a considerable upside, too. Remember, Newhouse spent most of training camp last summer shuffling between left tackle, left guard and right tackle. A full offseason and training camp anchored at left tackle should make him a better player. Plus, as offensive line James Campen put it, Newhouse spent last season "building his library" with a year full of experiences.

"He's a young guy that saw something different, and if you hesitate or overthink — he has a tendency sometimes to overthink," offensive line coach James Campen said. "As all young players do, (they) overanalyze the front or a move or something that he has seen on tape. For instance, this guy was really good at the swim move or rip move, and the guy doesn't do it. He's waiting for it to come, so you overcompensate — here comes the atomic rip move on a guy, but it doesn't happen and he gets a counter move. The thing about him is, even in the games that he had maybe a play or two like that, he didn't get beat by the same move the next time. Whether it was coming back on Monday and looking at it or on the sideline, he knew."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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