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Newhouse a sight for sore eyes

Aug 13, 2012 -- 9:52pm
Photo/Getty Images

GREEN BAY – Marshall Newhouse’s return to practice Monday should mean that the Green Bay Packers starting left tackle will be protecting the NFL MVP’s blind side for Thursday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.

Newhouse, who suffered a concussion during the team’s Aug. 3 Family Night Scrimmage and had not practiced since, missed last Thursday night’s preseason-opening loss at San Diego, where quarterback Aaron Rodgers absorbed a hard hit from Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram, who beat fill-in left tackle Herb Taylor. The hit resulted in an interception, during which Rodgers was it again during the Chargers’ return.

“Yeah, it didn’t feel good,” Rodgers confessed Monday.

With 2011 first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod yet to get the go-ahead to practice, Newhouse couldn’t return soon enough for the Packers. Nonetheless, he had to go through all the required post-concussion protocols before gaining clearance.

“I’m hopeful. He didn’t look like he had any conditioning issues,” coach Mike McCarthy said of Newhouse’s chances of playing Thursday night. “We challenged him today. I think he’s on schedule.”

The Packers had set their starting offensive line on Day 1 of training camp – Newhouse, left guard T.J. Lang, center Jeff Saturday, right guard Josh Sitton and right tackle Bryan Bulaga – but Newhouse’s concussion prevented the unit from spending more than a week practicing together.

“It’s great having Marshall back. I think he needs some reps with the six of us together,” Rodgers said. “Having him in there with T.J. and Josh and Bryan and Jeffy, it’ll be nice having us together and start to jell together.”

Rodgers, meanwhile, was asked what his goals were for the remainder of the preseason, and his top priority likely coincides with Newhouse’s availability.

“I just don’t want to get hurt. If I can get out of the preseason not getting hurt, that’s kind of a win,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, we want to score some points, move the ball, but as much as anything, it’s getting those five linemen together and making sure the protections are looking good. It’s the preseason, so you’re not going to see a whole lot of blitzing, probably, but you want to make sure you feel good about who your left tackle is and how he’s blocking, especially in the NFC North, and score some points.”

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