There’s been some question whether Chad Clifton would return to the starting lineup at left tackle or if Marshall Newhouse will remain in that position when Clifton is finally healthy and ready, which could be this week.
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has said he wants Clifton to play this week and there’s a good chance he will, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be the starter going into the playoffs.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has the most to lose or gain by a change at left tackle, seems to prefer Newhouse remain the starter.
“That’s not my decision on who is going to ultimately play there,” Rodgers said. “Can’t say enough about the job Marshall has done. Starting the season out, I didn’t look at Marshall the way I look at him now. I look at him now as a guy who really has a strong, legitimate chance to be the left tackle of the future. I think he has the personality makeup to do that, the athletic ability to do that, the feet and the smarts to be a very, very solid left tackle for us.
“Chad has been a guy who’s been so consistent for us through the years. Getting him back would mean either depth or a guy that can be plugged in right away and play. Mike has mentioned he’d like to see Chad play some plays this week in order to know if he can go with him in the playoffs.
“That being said, whoever is in there at left tackle, there will be a lot of confidence. Again, I thought Marshall played his butt off on Sunday against the Bears and I’m not surprised. It’s not a performance that surprised me when he goes out there and plays the way he does.”
Newhouse has had his ups and downs this season, but he’s improved as the season has progressed. Perhaps more importantly, inserting Clifton back into the lineup could cause the offensive line to lose some degree of continuity. That’s not really something you want going into the playoffs.
We’ve suggested before, Clifton’s career could essentially be over. At the time, we ran a poll, which came out virtually even — 52% for Clifton, 48% for Newhouse.
It will be interesting to see what the Packers do, but has your opinion changed?