Statement Game For Donald PennDecember 18th, 2013
A veteran left tackle gets beat a couple of times and fans are ready to run him out of town. Such is the case with Donald Penn.
Sunday against the 49ers wasn’t his best. But the week before, with Mario Williams and the NFL’s top sack unit of the Bills across the line of scrimmage, Penn stood strong. (By the way Buffalo rebounded Sunday with five sacks.)
Penn is set to earn $6.4 million next season at a critical position.Joe thinks Penn’s job is safe. He hasn’t missed a start since taking the gig in 2007, and he’s surely nowhere where near a “problem” with the Bucs offense. But Penn, like nearly ever veteran Buccaneer, especially the 30+ crowd, needs to prove himself in these final two games of 2013.
Joe’s sick of hearing chatter about how veterans are worn down this time of year. Sure they are, but the whole idea is to be ready to perform at a high level in January or February. Good players do that. Good teams to that. Joe’s not crying for anyone’s mid-December grind.
Penn’s got a huge test Sunday in 23-year-old Rams manbeast defensive end Robert Quinn. He’s got 15 sacks this season (off 10 in 2012), including two of Drew Brees last weekend, and he’s forced seven fumbles. Quinn’s an animal and represents a telling opportunity for Penn.
If Penn can contain Quinn, then what can Bucs fans say?
Joe’s confident. Penn has shown he can succeed against the elite players. Quinn was shut down well in the Bucs-Rams game last December.
Changes are coming to the Bucs’ offensive line, barring a massive resurrection of the running game over the final two games. Penn can steer clear of that by winning his battle in St. Louis. You don’t roll the dice at left tackle, and Penn is at least a good one.