FOXBOROUGH — What’s it like to switch sides as an offensive tackle?
“It’s like wiping with the other hand,” new Patriot Marshall Newhouse said Monday. “Your hips are flipped. All the plays are flipped. It’s difficult.”
Newhouse’s skills were put to the test against the Dolphins Sunday, when he had to shift from right to left tackle after starter Isaiah Wynn exited with a foot injury in the first quarter. The transition was certainly a challenge, likely exacerbated because Newhouse also was making his Patriots debut. The 30-year-old veteran signed last Wednesday and fast-tracked his way to playing every snap of Sunday’s game.
Joining Newhouse was fellow newcomer Korey Cunningham, who also was forced to make a positional adjustment. Cunningham entered the game at right tackle once Newhouse shifted to the left. The 24-year-old played primarily on the left side last season with the Cardinals.
Coach Bill Belichick seemed content with both performances, especially given New England’s lengthy time of possession, and cited the “minimal number of major errors and penalties.” The Patriots’ offense was on the field for 36½ minutes, and Cunningham was flagged for a false start.
“I thought they both hung in there,” Belichick said during a conference call Monday afternoon. “I thought they held up physically fairly well in, I’d say, pretty tough conditions.”
Belichick noted the outing “wasn’t perfect by any stretch” but acknowledged the difficulties of a quick acclimation period as well as the in-game changes. He’s hopeful both players can continue to build on their early experiences, as are Newhouse and Cunningham.
Their contributions are coming in a time of need for the Patriots, with Wynn undergoing an MRI following his injury suffered Sunday and center David Andrews out for the year. Newhouse said offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has stressed the importance of accountability.
Should he be needed at left tackle moving forward, Newhouse didn’t seem fazed by the potential move. While studying the playbook, he said he’s made an effort to know as much as possible about all position on the line. Still, there will always be a bit of an adjustment.
“I don’t think anything like that is ever natural,” he said. “It’s hard to do.”