|National Football League|
Packers look to Marshall Newhouse
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Marshall Newhouse isn't taking anything for granted.
The third-year offensive lineman enters training camp as the Green Bay Packers' starting left tackle after starting 13 games last season and with his primary competition, 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod, injured.
Newhouse made it clear Friday that he doesn't have the job clinched, even if he has the confidence of coach Mike McCarthy; quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his linemates.
All of that gives him more confidence that he can be the man who protects the blind side of the NFL MVP.
"My confidence with Marshall grows every time I see him practice and perform," McCarthy said. "(I think a) pretty good indicator is the quarterback has a lot of confidence in him. Aaron has a lot of confidence, and that's important, because Aaron is in the huddle. He has a very good feel looking in guys' eyes during the course of the game."
Rodgers spoke highly of him late last season. Told of those comments, Newhouse couldn't help but smile.
"It just makes me that much more committed to just proving (Rodgers) right and being that much better of a teammate and just helping us win, because that's the ultimate goal," Newhouse said.
Newhouse was thrust into the starting lineup last season after not playing a regular-season snap as a rookie. First, he filled in for injured right tackle Bryan Bulaga.
Then he took over for two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Chad Clifton, who ended up playing just six games because of hamstring and back injuries.
While Clifton regained his starting job for the regular-season finale against Detroit on Jan. 1, when he was benched for ineffective play in the team's NFC playoff loss to the New York Giants, Newhouse replaced him.
The Packers then released Clifton, their starting left tackle since 2000, in April, and with Sherrod still not cleared to practice following the broken right leg he suffered at Kansas City on Dec. 18, it's Newhouse's job to lose - even if he isn't taking that approach.
"I honestly don't think the job is mine, but I'm approaching it like I'm out there to be the guy that they can count on," Newhouse said. "I just know that my experience is only going to take me so far, (so) I've got to take my lessons that I learned from last year and find a positive and apply them this year, just be someone they can count on week-in and week-out."
That was the issue with Newhouse last season, as his level of play fluctuated. Newhouse should get plenty of quality work in training camp this year, going up against three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews every day in practice.
"There'll be days when I kind of wish he'd take a day off, but it'll only make me better," Newhouse said.
For his part, Newhouse said he has learned those lessons from his mistakes last season, but he's also realized something else: He let some of his mistakes stick with him for too long. He won't let that happen again.
"I feel like I've kind of developed a good amnesia. I'll definitely keep an even keel, because it's such a long season," Newhouse said. "Going through last year, that stuck out the most - it's such a grind, and you have to stay in the present.
"Just approach every game as an individual game, a new game - don't dwell on the past because things are never going to look perfect. I know I have the ability to play here. I have that confidence."
Notes: Tight end Jermichael Finley missed Friday morning's practice with what McCarthy called a "mild concussion." The injury occurred Thursday, when players were not in full pads. McCarthy says Finley will be out for a couple of days. According to NFL rules, Finley will have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before being allowed to return to practice. ... Defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent and is facing an eight-game NFL suspension for his involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, missed practice for a personal matter.
Updated July 28, 2012