Left tackle is one of the most important positions in football. If you ask the right person, you might be told that it's the second most important position in football after quarterback. The Green Bay Packers' long-time left tackle Chad Clifton has been forced from the football team by age and injury, and the man who will replace him to start the season still has to prove that he's a long-term solution at the left tackle spot.
Because an injury has kept Derek Sherrod from taking the practice field, Marshall Newhouse is the de facto starting left tackle without much of a competition. Andrew Datko might get a shot to start someday if he stays healthy, and Sherrod will be gunning for a job when he finally gets back into practice, but the job is Newhouse's to lose. Because of the head start he has on his competitors, it would take something truly catastrophic for him to lose that job. He's drawn plenty of praise from coaches for his improvement, but the sack and QB pressure numbers from last season indicate that he has a long way to go if he wants to be a top-notch NFL starter.
Below the jump, what you should be watching for from Newhouse at Family Night.
1. One on one pass blocking - This isn't a particularly groundbreaking piece of analysis, but Newhouse is going to be one-on-one with some great pass rushers all season. He's going to need to keep them from pummeling Aaron Rodgers. It's understandable if he gets beaten badly a couple of times by Clay Matthews in his first taste of a game situation this summer, but hopefully he's able to hold his own against Clay. If he's struggling with C.J. Wilson or Dezmon Moses, we might have a problem.
2. How often does he get help? - This should be a solid indicator of how much Mike McCarthy feels his tight ends need to practice chipping pass rushers and how much help Newhouse needs. Is he being left out on an island a lot, or is Tom Crabtree lined up on his end of the field every third down?
3. Is he biting hard on moves? - Clay Matthews has developed a pretty solid bag of tricks. He has spin moves going both ways, swim moves going both ways, and some solid power. He's going to find different ways to mess with Newhouse, and it will be interesting to see how hard he's biting on Clay's first move. Hopefully he's improved to the point where he has the right balance between not biting too hard on the first move and being careful to not get torched on the first move.
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