How’s that old saying go — if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again?
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera must’ve heard it before.
On Monday, the team’s first day back after a Week 4 bye, Rivera addressed the team’s bye-week trade for Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse. And, well, that wasn’t the first time the team tried to get Newhouse.
“Marshall was a guy that we had targeted in the preseason, trying to cut a deal with Buffalo,” Rivera said. “The opportunity came up last week, and it was one that (general manager) Marty (Hurney) felt strong about, and he and I talked about it because Marty was showing me the tape on this guy in the preseason, so we thought this would be a good move for us.”
With both starting right tackle Daryl Williams and tackle/guard Amini Silatolu sustaining knee injuries during training camp this summer, Rivera’s intent to boost the team’s offensive line depth makes complete sense. Carolina traded for reserve lineman Corey Robinson from the Detroit Lions on roster cutdown weekend.
Then, when starting left tackle Matt Kalil was placed on injured reserve with his own knee injury, the Panthers signed veteran Chris Clark to fill in protecting Cam Newton’s blind side.
The team’s corresponding move when it traded for Newhouse? They waived Robinson.
As for Newhouse, who has started 70 games and played in 103 total during his eight NFL seasons, the move presents an opportunity to join a winning organization.
“New experience for me, but hopefully it’s a blessing, and I look forward to competing,” Newhouse said Monday. “We’ve got a win thing going on here, I like it and I want to be part of it.”
And while Newhouse’s first few days in Carolina have been all about learning as much as possible as fast as possible, it has also been a whirlwind for him personally. Understandably.
Newhouse learned he’d been traded at around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and was already on a flight to Charlotte by 7 p.m. Then, after two days of intense cramming with run game coordinator John Matsko and assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton, Newhouse was Buffalo-bound again to pack up more of his things.
“Literally spent my 30th birthday Saturday packing up my apartment in Buffalo,” Newhouse said.
When asked if he got to celebrate at all, he added, “Had a couple of beers, sat on the couch and watched some football. Not the worst, but not ideal when you’re writing it up in a movie, I guess.”
Newhouse, who played in all three of Buffalo’s games this season, has experience at both right and left tackle, and said coaches haven’t yet told him where they’d like to see him most. Rivera said one of the things that made Newhouse an attractive trade target in the first place was that flexibility.
“He plays both right and left, and plays them both fairly well,” Rivera said. “I’ll be honest with you, I was fairly comfortable with it because I know their offensive line coach pretty well and he’s very similar in terms of some of the techniques he teaches like coach Matsko.”
With the positive offensive line news Carolina received during the bye — Rivera said he believes guard Trai Turner cleared the concussion protocol — Newhouse might not be pressed into action right away. But still, the newest face on the Panthers’ offensive line is still doing his best to get acclimated as soon as possible.
Even if it did cost him a birthday celebration and a bye week off.
“That’s unfortunate (not to get a bye),” Newhouse said, “but I hope that leads to a lot of wins and a playoff berth and so on and so forth, so I can trade those things off.”