Any lingering question about who would start at left tackle for the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional round of the 2012 NFL playoffs was answered Monday morning.
Without hesitation, coach Mike McCarthy proclaimed Chad Clifton as the starter at that position over second-year tackle Marshall Newhouse.
“Chad Clifton will be our starter,” McCarthy said. “There is no gray area for that.”
Clifton started on Sunday against the Detroit Lions and played the first three series for the Packers. McCarthy said on Monday that the goal was to play him for 25 or so snaps.
There was plenty of rust visible in those 25 snaps, which is understandable for a 35-year-old tackle coming off a torn hamstring. Clifton hadn’t played in a game since Week 5 when he suffered the injury in Atlanta and just returned to practice full-time this week.
Clifton was beat a handful of times in pass protection against the Lions, including one allowed sack. McCarthy acknowledged that Clifton still has work to do over the next two weeks to be ready for the Packers’ Divisional round playoff game.
Asked why he was choosing Clifton over Newhouse, who started 10 games at left tackle this season, McCarthy said, “Experience, and Clifton is a damn good player.”——————
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.