Marshall Newhouse shouldn't be identified as Cincinnati's reaction to losing Anthony Collins, who signed a five-year deal worth $30 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Collins, who had spot starts throughout his Bengals career, hasn't allowed a quarterback sack since week four in 2009. The Bengals weren't going to find someone that replaced that level of production in free agency.
Newhouse allowed three sacks and 21 pressures on 162 passing snaps last season, mostly as a reserve with two starts in Green Bay. During 2012, when he started the full 16-game season, Newhouse allowed nine sacks and 54 pressures. And the year before that, Newhouse started 13 games and allowed 58 pressures. With Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, propositional development with Tanner Hawkinson and a possible draft pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Newhouse is probably facing training camp competition just to make the 53-man roster.
Don't tell him that though.
"I'm coming in trying to win a spot," Newhouse said via Bengals.com. "If they want me to play a couple of different spots, I'll go where they want me. I can play a little inside (at guard), too. They're talking about the flexibility of the offensive line and I think I can help there."
Versatility is the only way that Newhouse makes the roster. Save for an injury, he won't start at offensive tackle. Clint Boling's rehabilitation question starts at whether he'll ready for training camp. There's a spot. A backup to both guards? It's possible with theorists projecting Mike Pollak as the team's starting center. With an NFL draft coming, let's not write anything in stone just yet.
There is familiarity. Newhouse was an offensive tackle at TCU with Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton. They played three seasons together, reaching a bowl game every year, and compiling an undefeated record the last year that they played together.
"I know it's a business, but to be able to come to this team with Andy here is something I'm looking forward to," Newhouse said. "He's a proven winner and a great competitor. We're still pretty close and with our families. We both live down here and I've worked out with him a few times. I'm glad to be back with him."
The starting core will be mostly unaffected but the team's depth is undergoing change on the offensive line. Kyle Cook has already been released and Collins is no longer the world's best backup on Cincinnati's roster. Starting center and left guard are up for grabs, unless Boling returns healthy, and the depth is as a fluid as the Ohio river.