Updated: 6:35 p.m.
By the tender age of 25, Marshall Newhouse has already played in four post-season games, lined up at three different spots for a 15-1 team, and started 31 games for three straight NFC North champions in Green Bay.
So while the conventional wisdom in the wake of his signing with the Bengals Friday is that he's replacing Anthony Collins (gone to Tampa in free agency last week) as the backup for tackles Andrew Whitworth
and Andre Smith
, Newhouse says he's here to compete after talking with head coach Marvin Lewis and offensive line coach Paul Alexander.
"I'm coming in trying to win a spot," Newhouse said Friday from his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. "If they want me to play a couple of different spots, I'll go where they want me. I can play a little inside (at guard), too. They're talking about the flexibility of the offensive line and I think I can help there."
Lewis was so vehement last week in saying that Whitworth is the left tackle, it is doubtful this move puts Whitworth back at left guard. With Whitworth, Smith and Newhouse, the Bengals now have three tackles and may pick up at least one more in the May 8-10 draft. Plus, backup left guard Tanner Hawkinson
has some people in the building thinking he can play some left tackle, too, after an encouraging preseason there as a rookie last year.
Newhouse is in the mold of Collins, a fourth-round pick in 2008. Newhouse, a fifth-round pick of the Packers in 2010 after protecting Andy Dalton
for three years at TCU, is an athletic pass protector. At his NFL scouting combine he tied for the best time among tackles in the three-cone drill. He can play both sides and has played two games at right guard.
In 2012 ProFootballFocus.com rated him 54th among all left tackles but jacked his grades to 31st in pass protection, the major strength of his game.
The 6-3, 326-pound Newhouse made 29 starts in 2011 and 2012 when the Packers went a combined 26-6, Newhouse was moved to right tackle for 2013 training camp and Don Barclay beat him out.
The Packers decided to put their best lineman at left tackle for that camp and when Bryan Bulaga was lost for the season when he blew out his knee in an intrasquad scrimmage, they put No. 1 pick David Bakhtiari at left tackle. Newhouse is no doubt looking to jump start his career with the Packers opting to go with Bulaga, Barclay, Bakhtiari, and Derek Sherrod.
Newhouse isn't sure what happened in Green Bay, but he's not going to us it as a chip on his shoulder.
"It's a good question. They came to me before training camp and said they wanted to put me at right tackle," Newhouse said. "It's a business. I know that even some of the greatest players don't finish with the teams that drafted them. I'm not looking at it like that (to prove a point). I want to keep improving as a player and helping the Bengals win games. There's nothing wrong with a fresh start."
Alexander likes his guys big and smart and he's certainly got that in Newhouse. He reportedly ripped off 32 out of 50 in the Wonderlic at the combine.
"I don't know what it was," he said. "All I know is it was high enough to get me drafted."
They're also getting a guy with NFL in his DNA. He has two cousins that played, most famously Robert Newhouse, the Dallas Cowboys' fifth-leading rusher in a career from 1972-83, as well as Reggie Newhouse in a brief run with the Cardinals for two years in Arizona a decade ago. Not only that, his father, John, played for Cotton Bowl teams at the University of Houston in 1977, 1979 and 1980.
“Marshall has played a lot of football for Green Bay; he’ll be a quality addition to our line,” said Alexander in a news release. “He’s played left tackle and right tackle and has experience in big games.”
Marshall also had a star-studded college career in Texas to keep it in the family. With Dalton's help. Newhouse protected him in his first three seasons and they went to a bowl game every year. When Newhouse was a senior and Dalton a junior, they helped TCU to its first undefeated regular season in 71 years.
He's happy to be re-united with his fellow Metroplex resident.
"I know it's a business, but to be able to come to this team with Andy here is something I'm looking forward to," Newhouse said. "He's a proven winner and a great competitor. We're still pretty close and with our families. We both live down here and I've worked out with him a few times. I'm glad to be back with him."
Newhouse was an unrestricted free agent, but it is believed his deal isn't big enough to impact potential compensation for free-agent losses. The Bengals' big money deals are coming later with their own players in deals they hope to strike with Dalton, A.J. Green
and Vontaze Burfict
, among others.