The Backup Offensive Line: Nick McDonald and Marshall Newhouse

There was a scuffle between two backup offensive lineman in practice. From JS Online.com:

Center Nick McDonald and tackle Marshall Newhouse went face-to-face in an argument that required offensive line coach James Campen and a couple players to break up. Afterward, Campen could be seen with his hand on both players' shoulders lecturing them before sending them on their way.

Neither McDonald nor Newhouse would say what precipitated the argument.

"There's no story to write," Newhouse said at his locker. "There's nothing to talk about. It's just football."

He's probably right and it's just a little temper flared up during practice. But it gives me a chance to evaluate the two backups so far this preseason. 

McDonald was one of the few backups that looked solid against the Browns as Matt Flynn and Graham Harrell spent much of the game getting sacked or running for their lives. But he took a step back against the Cardinals and allowed a sack to DT Dan Williams. He's listed on the depth chart as the top backup at center and right guard, so the team certainly likes him, and I don't expect a big change of opinion based on one sack. 

Newhouse had a lot of trouble with speed rushes against the Browns, but looked much better against the Cardinals. Maybe he did better lined up against the Cardinals bigger DEs in the 3-4 defense vs. the Browns quicker DEs in a 4-3. However, his performance was similar last preseason, with a bad first game before a solid overall preseason performance. Maybe he's just a slow starter. While he's listed as the top backup at left tackle, he could move over to the right side if Derek Sherrod becomes the backup at left tackle and left guard.

I expect all three players will be the top backups this season, and I've seen enough from McDonald and Newhouse to believe they'll be decent backups if forced to play. The Packers will probably keep at least two more offensive lineman, with probably one of them making the practice squad, but I have no idea which two players will remain.

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