Marshall Newhouse's first appearance on offense of his professional career can only be viewed as a success.
In the face of adversity, he entered the game for a departed––and effective––Bryan Bulaga, who left the game with a knee injury, and held down the proverbial fort for the Packers on Sunday.
Newhouse, meeting with the local media and speaking with a bespectacled face that made him look more like a college professor and less an NFL offensive lineman, said he wouldn't have been satisfied with just a mediocre performance.
"I didn't want to play okay; I wanted to play to help us win," said Newhouse.
Win the Packers did as they defeated the Chicago Bears 27-17 and improved to 3-0 on the season.
In just his second year in professional football, Sunday marked Newhouse's first time he saw action on the offensive line.
He spent the first 15 games of his rookie year on the gameday inactive each and every week before being placed on injured reserve December 31 with a back injury.
Without the benefit of an offseason training program conducted by the Packers as a result of the NFL lockout, Newhouse entered 2011 without a ton of experience, yet still managed to impress the coaching staff.
"I'm very pleased with the way Marshall played, very pleased in his development from year one to year two not having the offseason program," said head coach Mike McCarthy.
Newhouse, once again, won a spot on the 53-man roster this season, and despite beginning training camp on the depth chart lower than this year's first-round draft choice Derek Sherrod, the TCU product pulled ahead of the rookie by camp's end and was the top backup at both tackle positions coming into Sunday.
This season was a step up for Newhouse, who was on the 46-man gameday active roster for all three regular season games so far this year, playing on the field goal and extra point units in Weeks 1 and 2.
Other than some preseason action, Newhouse had very little to rely upon when he was inserted into yesterday's game. But like riding a bicycle, it didn't take long for him to get into a groove.
Asked whether he started to get comfortable after his first series, Newhouse replied, "More like after the first play, just realizing that it's still football and that I can still play, I'm here for a reason. But my teammates picked me up, and the goal is to go out there and win."
In spite of not getting the practice reps afforded the starting offensive lineman and Bulaga in particular, Newhouse felt as if he was still prepared to face a Bears defensive line that provided multiple looks and several match-ups against All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers.
"Any D-line in this league is good, and they're going to test you and everything," said Newhouse. "But luckily I got a lot of reps in practice, and I felt that I was prepared mentally. That gave me a chance to play football and be athletic and just be sound and play and not get in any trouble."
Whether Newhouse remains the No. 1 right tackle remains to be seen. After an initial diagnosis of a bruised knee to Bulaga in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's game, McCarthy added the word "sprained" to today's update.
An injury may have opened the door for Newhouse to see playing time at right tackle, but he hoped on Monday for nothing but the well-being of the man he replaced. Yet in the event that Bulaga is out for any length of time, Newhouse said he'll be prepared.
"Since the start of the season, I've always been ready for anything to happen, preparing during the week for anything to happen," said Newhouse. "It's just something that happened unfortunately, and we're hopeful for Bryan's recovery. But for now, just take it as it comes."
McCarthy wouldn't rule out Bulaga for the Week 4 meeting against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on Sunday, but at the same time, it's clear the Packers are making contingency plans.
"Marshall will get the reps that he'll need to be ready to play if Bryan cannot go," said McCarthy.
There was a bit of optimism regarding Bulaga, however. McCarthy referenced team doctor Pat McKenzie when he said Bulaga may have "dodged a bullet" regarding the severity of a possibly more serious injury.
At least for one game, though, Newhouse provided stability to a position that lost a starter, and that was enough to please the head coach.
"I thought Marshall played a good game, a good solid game coming off the bench on the road," said McCarthy. "He did a lot of good things."
- Like Like
- 0 points