With the Green Bay Packers releasing the 36-year-old Chad Clifton this offseason, 2010 fifth-round pick Marshall Newhouse is expected to be first in line to replace him at left tackle, Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes.
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Newhouse's ascension to left tackle might come as a bit of a surprise as the Packers aggressively prepared for the post-Clifton and Mark Tauscher era by using first-round draft picks on offensive tackles in 2010 and 2011. First came Bryan Bulaga, who has progressed nicely over his two seasons, but the Packers appear inclined to keep him at right tackle. 2011 draft pick Derek Sherrod could be the best long-term option at left tackle, but he's raw and is coming off a broken leg.
Newhouse, meanwhile, is no stranger to the position, having started there for three seasons at Texas Christian University. Newhouse started 10 games protecting Aaron Rodgers' blindside for an injured Clifton in 2011. In addition to three starts for an injured Bulaga at right tackle, Newhouse logged 85.77 percent of the Packers' offensive snaps last season, the third-highest total behind departed center Scott Wells and guard Josh Sitton.
Newhouse did not play a down as a rookie. And denied an offseason by the lockout, Newhouse predictably struggled in his first extensive NFL action. According to Football Outsiders Almanac 2012, Newhouse had nine blown blocks leading to sacks, intentional grounding or holding penalties. Newhouse was in good company, however, as Denver BroncosPro Bowl player Ryan Clady had the same total.
With an actual NFL offseason, Packers line coach James Campen expects Newhouse to be much better in 2012.
"He did a lot of good things, he did some things he's worked on already this offseason," said Campen. "I expect him to grow and be better than he was last year, no question."