Today is the 35th day of FOX Sports Wisconsin Packers writer Paul Imig’s offseason evaluations of every player on Green Bay’s roster. Click here for all of Paul’s previous evaluations and come back every day through mid-March for Paul’s in-depth film and statistical analysis. Coming up soon:
Today: OT Marshall Newhouse
Monday, March 4: OLB Nick Perry
Tuesday, March 5: DT Ryan Pickett Wednesday, March 6: TE Andrew Quarless Thursday, March 7: NT B.J. Raji
Friday, March 8: QB Aaron Rodgers
Saturday, March 9: WR Jeremy Ross
MARSHALL NEWHOUSE, LEFT TACKLE
Season stats: 18 starts (16 regular season, two postseason), nine sacks allowed, 37 QB hurries allowed, seven penalties committed; played 100 percent of offensive snaps
Best game: Week 16 win over Tennessee (two QB hurries allowed, zero QB sacks allowed, zero penalties committed; 2.7 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 12 loss at New York Giants (five QB hurries allowed, one sack allowed, one penalty committed; season-worst minus-4.5 PFF rating)
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: minus-4.3 (ranked No. 22 out of 25 among Packers offensive players; No. 54 out of 80 among NFL offensive tackles)
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were … Met
Looking live: With 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod recovering from a broken leg, Newhouse entered training camp as the clear-cut favorite to begin the 2012 season as the starting left tackle. Coach Mike McCarthy had publicly stated his belief that Bryan Bulaga was on the verge of becoming an Pro Bowl-caliber right tackle, so there was little competition for Newhouse on the left side of the line. Newhouse, a fifth-round pick in 2010, had previously started 13 games at left tackle in 2011 after injuries forced McCarthy to shuffle the offensive line. Newhouse had to step into a very important position that year, and even though the Packers nearly went undefeated in 2011 with him in that spot, he did not perform at the level of an NFL starting left tackle. According to ProFootballFocus.com’s grading system, Newhouse in 2011 was rated as the worst offensive tackle in the entire league. But, Green Bay didn’t have a better alternative and had to send Newhouse back into that role in 2012. One significant positive that Newhouse offered this past season was his health, as he was the only Packers offensive player to play every single snap.
Upon further review: Overall, Newhouse was much better last season than he was in 2011. Protecting the blind side of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers carried a lot of responsibility, and Newhouse did a fairly good job in that area. Though Rodgers was sacked more than any quarterback in the NFL, Newhouse was responsible for only eight of them. In 779 passing plays, Newhouse allowed pressure on the quarterback 37 times (4.7 percent). Even ProFootballFocus.com, which, as stated above, was very critical of Newhouse in 2011, graded his pass-blocking as a positive in 2012. Newhouse’s run blocking, on the other hand, didn’t improve much from the prior season. The Packers ran the ball outside the left tackle (Newhouse) only 56 times for 166 yards (2.9 yards average). It was the team’s least successful area of the offensive line to run behind, and McCarthy reflected that in his play-calling with it being where Green Bay ran the ball the fewest times. For a comparison, the Packers ran 86 rushing plays outside to the right. After a rough stretch in consecutive weeks against the Giants, Vikings, Lions and Bears, Newhouse had three strong performances in a row at the end of the season before putting together an average game in the divisional-round loss to the 49ers.
Overall 2012 grade: C
Status for 2013: 50 percent chance of being one of the Packers’ starting tackles next season. Some change needs to be made to Green Bay’s starting offensive line. The running game hasn’t been good enough and Rodgers needs to get hit a lot less. Guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are locked into long-term deals and are not going anywhere. McCarthy sounds committed to Evan Dietrich-Smith at center, and Bulaga will certainly be one of the starting tackles. That leaves just one spot on the offensive line to change: Newhouse’s. At the moment, Newhouse’s competition is Sherrod returning from injury and the possibility of Bulaga switching to left tackle. However, general manager Ted Thompson could decide to boost the overall quality and depth of the offensive line, which could bring in new challengers (draft picks and/or free-agent pickups) to add to the mix.