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Newhouse readies for rematch against Pierre-Paul

Nov. 22, 2012

The low point of Marshall Newhouse’s first season as the Packers’ starting left tackle came last season against the New York Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul.

Last year Pierre-Paul was the NFL’s breakout player after a so-so rookie year in 2010. He finished the season with 16 ½ sacks, which ranked No. 4 in the NFL, and was a key player in the Giants’ run to the Super Bowl title.

When the Packers played at New York on Dec. 4, Pierre-Paul had a big day matched mainly against Newhouse. Though he didn’t have any sacks, Pierre-Paul unofficially finished with eight pressures, including three hits on quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He also had a sack nullified by a penalty in the secondary.

The two are likely to matched up regularly again this week when they play again almost a year to the day later.

“It wasn’t my best day,” Newhouse said Thursday. “I evaluated myself, and there were a lot of things I was not good at that day, but not things I’m not capable of, I’ll put it that way. I was not within myself a lot. I’m still proud that we got the win, but my performance left something to be desired. I definitely feel like I took something from that and learned from it and I’ve gotten better from it.”

The Packers nevertheless stuck with Newhouse as their starting left tackle until Chad Clifton was healthy enough to return from hamstring and back injuries. Clifton started the regular-season finale against Detroit, though he played only a quarter, and then two weeks later started against the Giants. Clifton was pulled in favor of Newhouse in the third quarter because of poor performance.

“When (Newhouse) played (Pierre-Paul) out here, he played much better,” said James Campen, the Packers’ offensive line coach. “I just think he’s gained the experience from playing against an extreme athlete. There’s no arguing that. The guy’s an athlete.

“I think (Newhouse) has just built his library against different kinds of rushers, different body types, and certainly that guy is a different type of person as a football player. (Pierre-Paul) is dynamic. Just going around the second time, I think (Newhouse) did much better.”

This season Pierre-Paul hasn’t been as dominant a playmaker and through 10 games he has 6 ½ sacks. But he remains a physical freak who at 6-feet-5 and 270 pounds plays like a smaller and more explosive athlete.

Pierre-Paul also sometimes moves to an inside rusher on passing downs, so he won't always be matched against Newhouse.

“Has a motor, runs, very instinctive,” Campen said of Pierre-Paul. “You see him do things, diagnose plays that go away from him and he’s able to sit back, and reverses and those things don’t seem to fool him. He does a lot of good things. Very instinctive player combined with supreme athleticism. He’s a good player.”

Said Newhouse: "It will be a test. I know that."

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