Using my power of Total Photographic Recall, or what I like to call "DVR," I reviewed all offensive plays during the Packers victory over the Minnesota Vikings, with an eye to Marshall Newhouse's performance at left tackle.
In the running game, I scored Newhouse with 18 positive plays and 6 negative plays. On many of the positive plays, the ball was carried to the right side of the formation, leaving Newhouse pretty much out of the play. Newhouse was strong on balls carried to the left side. When he could take on his man directly, he was able to control and push his opponent. I ranked only two negatives on runs to the left. One one play, Jerrod Allen beat Newhouse to the outside, but Grant cut inside for a three yard gain. On the other negative to the left, the ball was pitched to Starks around left end, but Newhouse, pulling for a block, stumbled on nothing and went to the ground. Starks was tackled for a small loss as Newhouse did not block the corner coming up on run support. In the final all-run drive to kill the clock and game, the final two runs, including Starks' clinching 13 yarder, came to the left side and Newhouse made very strong blocks on both runs.
Several of Newhouse's negatives came on running plays up the middle or to the right. Marshall had a tough time with hook blocks, getting around his man enough to control the opponent's pursuit to the right. A couple of times his man came down the line of scrimmage to make the tackle from the runner's backside.
I thought Newhouse was poor when moving into the second level. Half the time, he came to a stop, standing erect. Other times, he was moving but seemed to never find a target to hit.
I'd rate Newhouse effective in straight line blocking, but subpar when moving laterally or downfield in space.
In the passing game, I scored Newhouse with 32 positive results and 5 negative results. These 37 plays include passes, sacks, and scrambles. On these passing plays, Newhouse received help from a tight end once and from running backs four times. That's only five passing plays that McCarthy looked to assist Newhouse against Jerrod Allen.
For the negatives, on Rodgers' short TD pass to Kuhn, Allen beat Newhouse around the corner and knocked down Rodgers after the pass. Allen later followed with a clean sack by easily beating Newhouse off the snap and taking him around the outside. On the third negative, Allen again got around the outside cleanly, but Rodgers had a quick throw to the right and the ball was already gone at Allen's arrival. The second sack that Newhouse yielded came with about 5:50 left in the second quarter on the play that looked like an aborted center screen. Wells and Sitton appeared to release for a center screen, but replay showed that the defensive tackle dropped back into coverage, leaving Wells and Sitton in space. Newhouse's man slipped easily past him, and Newhouse looked confused on that play. Rodgers was sacked by Newhouse's man. The final sack the Newhouse yielded actually was more on Rodgers. Allen and the DT ran a crossing stunt, which Newhouse and Lang picked up well. Newhouse was controlling the DT and working the DT outside. Rodgers, however, left the pocket, rolling left, and Newhouse unknowingly worked his man right into Rodgers for the sack. Newhouse actually played that correctly, but will be marked with having given up a third sack.
Newhouse won't face many more pass rushers with more speed than Jerrod Allen. Newhouse was beaten off the snap by Allen a few times, but Allen never scored any "high motor" plays, where his initial thrust was abated but his hustle resulted in a tackle. When Newhouse got on Allen in the passing game, he stuck to the Viking.
Overall, I'd rate it an average performance. Newhouse was stout and even overpowering when locked up on his man. Marshall wasn't nearly as efficient on speed plays: strong outside pass rushes or hooks or downfield blocks in the running game. I'll be interested in revisiting Newhouse's performance in three weeks in the second Viking game, and later in the season after he's made a few more starts.
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