Lay Off Donald Penn

January 17th, 2014

GlennonPennJoe’s always surprised when Bucs fans let loose rage and hate at Donald Penn.

These fans must be either taking Pro Football Focus stats as gospel and/or be prejudiced against fat people. Why? Because Penn absolutely was not the problem with the Bucs’ 32nd-ranked offense.

Penn, as of his performance last season, is an average starting left tackle — not great but not bad. And Penn is paid as such. The numbers guys at OverTheCap.com have Penn’s salary as the 15th highest at his position, just ahead of Falcons bust Sam Baker, a 2008 first-round pick who is often hurt and spent most of last season on injured reserve.

But throw in Penn’s leadership and durability — he’s never missed a start since getting the job in 2007 — and Penn’s value goes up.

Left tackle is not a position where teams can play games and mess around. It’s too important, and your quarterback’s blind side is not a place to run risks.

Every time Joe mentions Penn’s roughly $7 million payday coming in 2014 (salary plus incentives), Joe hears the cries of “dump Penn.” That would be downright foolish.

Yes, the Bucs might draft a premier tackle in the first round this year. But Joe would still hang on to Penn in 2014. Many great left tackles have played their first season at right tackle — to learn the NFL ropes while a veteran left tackle is phased out. Panthers LT Jordan Gross did just that when he was drafted in the first round in 2003.

Gross, 33,  also restructured his contract last winter to cut his 2013 pay to $5.5 million. He’ll be a free agent in a matter of weeks. Perhaps the Bucs ask Penn, 30, to take a similar pay cut?

Regardless, there’s no reason to consider dumping Penn. He’s not the problem. If the Bucs are looking to purge cash on their highly-paid offensive line, then Joe thinks they should look at Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Zuttah, guys who truly have been overpaid for their performance and positions. 

49 Responses to “Lay Off Donald Penn”

  1. joseph mamma Says:

    I think we get one or two more years of Penn at a decent level but should draft his replacement if we have the chance. We haven’t gotten much infusion of talent at the tackle position lately. DE of course is more of a need right now though.

  2. Keith Says:

    I’m over Davin Joseph. Hurt more than he’s healthy. Missed a lot of time in 2008, 2010, all of 2012, and was crap in 2013.

    What are we hanging on to?

    And as a leader, Joseph was on the field when the team quit in 2011. Time to move on.

  3. deminion Says:

    restructure penn cut davin imo cn nicks be restructured ?

  4. ROBERT6 Says:

    I say gut the whole line short of Dotson. They have been told for years how great they are by both the media and their paychecks, that’s they seem to have lost their edge/hunger.

    the fact that Penn is durable is great, but we have not had a chance to see if anyone is better. like when trueblood went down and Dotson came in.

  5. ander Says:

    i say keep all of them and bring competition, also if nicks cant go by training camp or even mini camp then they should cut him because unfortanetly it looks his career is in trouble

  6. The 300's Says:

    He is not THE problem. He is part of the problem that is the offensive line. He has consistently had weight issues (which means lack of dedication). But more importantly, he is not the player he was a few years ago (when he was fighting for a good contract) where he would shut down the likes of John Abraham and Dwight Freeney. He is a liability at this point. And I doubt you would want to put Demar Dotson (arguably the Bucs best lineman last year) on the bench so a rookie can start his position and allow Penn to continue missing his blocks.

  7. Brian Dorry Says:

    You’re right Penn was not the problem…He’s a boom or bust player, always has been…he has a few games in a season where he looks bad and he’s really good for the rest of the year. Drafting a LT in the first round and dumping Penn would almost certainly be a step down in 2014 because there’s a pretty big learning curve at the position. Demar Dotson was better than Penn in 2013 and has rapidly improved over the past two seasons…and he’s much younger…I think Dotson should be the heir apparent to Penn, so drafting a tackle and benching Dotson would be a really dumb move. The tackle position should be the least of our worries, as the entire interior offensive line needs rebuilding.

  8. Kennedy Says:

    Dotson is not a good player. You guys are nuts. No trade value. No run blocking.

  9. Mumbles Says:

    If we got our eye on another ROG, Joseph should be traded. If not the restructured like Trueblood. If he objects, then cut him.

    Same thing for Penn. He was targeted to be cut or restructured by the previous Admin. I would keep him, but for less money.

    Nicks is another story. He is going to be a cap hit of 9.3mil no matter what. He is owed 7 mil guaranteed and there is 2.3 dead money from his last restructure. If he can play at all he will be kept. If he is done and can’t play, he will be cut but paid anyway.

  10. Mike J Says:

    As I have said several times, Penn is OK to start the season but eats his way into incapacity as the year wears on.An average player at best.
    And actually, PFF isn’t real hard on Donald; they liked his run-blocking; it is Joseph they consider a total waste of a roster spot.

  11. mvermulm Says:

    Dotson absolutely was a good player last season. That does not, however, mean that he should be moved to LT. He’s not good enough to play on the left side, but is more than adequate on the right. If Matthews falls to #7 (or if another LT is available that the Bucs deem worthy), he should be drafted and groomed to take over the LT position next season or if there is an injury. The same should happen with a guard later in the draft, even if an OG is picked up in free agency.

  12. Lev Says:

    He is the Mike Glennon of offensive tackles

  13. Lev Says:

    He is good but not great. Are people okay with that? I AM NOT. UPGRADE ASAP!

    Strong odds there won’t be an upgrade in free agency.–Joe

  14. ManzielMadness Says:

    OT Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 340, 5.26), Dude is a monster and correct me if I’m wrong but we could get him in a later round

  15. passthebuc Says:

    Penn should be replaced with a stud LT that could anchor the line for the next 10/12 years. Penn then should be moved to one of the other spots to increase his longevity. Next I would draft a center that has been a missing component for years. Unless Jake Matthews or possibly Clowney is still on the board, I try to trade down and pick up an additional 2nd or 3rd round pick. We have holes.

  16. NewTampaChris Says:

    Left tackle is like QB — you’d better have a backup plan already in place if you make a change.

  17. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Joe

    Lol, your love for Penn baffles me(I KNOW ITS YOUR GUY IN ALL). I’ve followed your site for years, and I’ve never seen you stick up for such a mediocre talent like this. 25 sacks over 3 yrs Joe? We all know these young DE/OLB wear the poor guy out for 4 full quarters. Ever since he got that contract its been all down hill. What did he give up 10 sacks this year?

    We can do better than that Joe. There’s a few quality LT’s in the draft this year. As you’ve stated as well as the rest of us. Auburn’s LT Greg Robinson being one of them. Many scouts now have him rated in the Top 5. Time to cut our losses and start fresh. Send a message to the rest of the team. BUCS are done with mediocrity IN 2014.

  18. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Gut it.

  19. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    You confuse me with your support for admittedly middling talent at LT and GM.

  20. Bucnnole Says:

    Luvmybucs-
    You nailed it right on the head.
    Joe,
    Your love affair with Penn is wierd. It’s as though you guys are pals in the off season or he has incriminating photos of you or something. Penn burst on the scene as a cheap find from Utah State who did do an fine job of filling the LT position for a few years, but Joe, his best days were behind him two years ago. Penn is the most overhyped, by you, player on the roster and his play has digressed over the years. He’s gotten sloppy fat, his footwork is terrible, and the only running Penn does is with his mouth. We need to overhaul the entire O line…. Starting with a new LT as an anchor. Thanks for the serviceable job Donald, but the door is over there. Adios

  21. Dano Says:

    I’m sorry but Penn was NOT good this season. His play started getting worse at end of 2012. This season he never got better. The Oline as a whole was PITIFUL & needs major improvement!

  22. Dano Says:

    Agree Bucnnole

  23. mac Says:

    Hey Joe is D. Penn related to Mark Dominik?

    OMG!

    All you have to do is watch Penn and you can clearly see he is too fat, slow and un-athletic to handle ANY of the leagues decent pass rushers anymore…

    I would ask him to take a pay cut anfin someone to compete with him… He is surely on the “downhill slide”…

  24. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Bucnnole

    Lol, Exactly

  25. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    Penn was horrible last season no doubt, but before we even consider getting rid of him, we need to get rid of perennial underperformers like Joseph, then draft/acquire a quality Tackle and then think about Penn’s future with Bucs.

  26. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    As was stated about him in 2011-Lets Recap

    It is important that I make my position on Penn clear: I was, until recently, a huge, huge supporter of Penn; however, due to an offseason of particularly missing football (and practising for a new weekly feature The Pulling Linemen will be introducing during the season), I have recently been breaking down Bucs’ gamefilm from the 2011 season, focusing on specific players. When focusing on LeGarrette Blount, one thing stood out repeatedly – that Penn is arguably the most overrated tackle in football. I was shocked – as I said, I was a huge Penn fan up to that point – but what you can see on film is unavoidable. The thing with Penn’s play is that he is very much a one-trick pony – in all but one aspect of tackle play, he is average at the very best, and at worst, does more damage than if he wasn’t there at all (let’s just say, there’s a reason why the Bucs rarely had right guard Davin Joseph lead blocking on a pull to the left – namely, Penn could never move his defensive end at all, thus giving Joseph no space to lead block effectively). However, that one trick that he does possess, he does as well as any other tackle in the league – it is the one aspect of play in which Penn is truly elite: handling outside pass-rush.

    That Penn is bad in the run game is no secret – in fact, ‘bad’ is a huge overstatement of his abilities. He is terrible, rarely making his intended block, and when he does, he almost never sustains his block through the whistle, but rather maybe block a defender for a few seconds before he seemingly runs out of energy. His issue is one of technique; simply put, he fails to drive the defenders back at all – at best, he keeps the defenders where they are, but never actually pushes anyone back – and that mostly comes from poor leverage, which comes from Penn struggling to get lower than his opponent. This is, in part, because Penn rarely lines up in a traditional three-point stance, but rather the two-point, which is typically only used in pass-protection, due to a need to drop back, rather than burst forward.

    Coming out of a two-point stance not only means Penn is at a poor angle to get lower than the defender, but also means he lacks a lot of the burst that comes through firing out of a three-point stance. The obvious question is why Penn would come out of a two-point stance at all – and I’m afraid the answer appears to be weight-related. It is no secret that Penn is one of the more ‘portly’ offensive linemen in the league, with his weight reportedly ballooning to 360 pounds during the 2011 season. It is enough of an issue that Penn has a bonus in his contract that he only receives if he weighs below 330 pounds when officially weighed by the team, four times in a year. With Penn weighing as much as he does, it does make him much slower out of a three-point stance than he would be if he weighed closer to 300 (in fact, I’d argue that Penn would have a chance to be a truly great left tackle in all aspects of his game if he could get his weight down to 300 at the start of each season, as it would allow him to move allot more freely – or at least, would have had he not been injured). So, he compensated by often lining up in a two-point stance – sacrificing leverage by doing so, and thereby making him incredibly ineffective in run-blocking

    Odd how Penn’s NFL peers voted him among the top 100 NFL players of 2012. –Joe

  27. BirdDoggers Says:

    Penn is worth holding on to. You can’t blow up the entire line and replace them in one offseason and expect great results. Nicks might not play again and needs to be replaced. Joseph had a subpar year coming back from a knee injury. He’s a good candidate for contract restructuring if the coaching staff thinks he can rebound. Zuttah is replaceable, but he offers versatility along the line. The O-line depth is sub-par, so it’s not like there’s a crop of young players ready to take over.

  28. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Continue….

    Of course, one could well argue that the left tackle position places a premium on pass-protection, not drive-blocking, and to an extent that’s true. However, I have bad news for Penn supporters: Penn is not as good at pass-pro as you think he is. Many point to the fact that he has shutdown many of the league’s elite pass-rushers during his career, and that is true – but it runs deeper than that. The reason that he was so effective against those pass-rushers is that, in large part, those pass-rushers’ best moves tend to be utilising the outside-rush, and that is the aspect of being a left tackle that Pen is truly dominant in. He is so good at protecting against outside-rush that even when DEs and OLBs attempt to fake outside then come back in with a spin move, Penn has shown that he can control the spin move as well as anyone I’ve seen, completely nullifying even Dwight Freeney’s fearsome spin. The problem is that, while a majority of RDEs will go to the outside more often than not when pass-rushing, they will occasionally go inside… and Penn’s inside is softer than a marshmallow in a microwave. It is surprising how relatively infrequently Penn’s inside was attacked in pass-protection, as there are many occasions where doing so would have led to an easy sack.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is a division foe who seemed to abuse Penn’s inside the most, namely New Orleans’ end Will Smith, no doubt something he recognised thanks to going against him twice a year, when he wasn’t busy helping to run the bounty program (allegedly), or taking banned diuretics. Penn’s inside was not just a problem in pass-rushing situations, either, as attacking Penn’s inside in the run game made for an easy tackle-for-a-loss – rewatch the second Bucs/Saints game in 2011, several times Penn took a step outside in run-blocking, only to have the DE shoot across his face through a massive hole into the backfield.

    So, the Bucs will have to turn to another tackle for the early part of at least the preseason, if not the regular season. Most likely, it will be Demar Dotson who will get the first shot at stepping up. Dotson has mostly been used as a blocking tight end in his career so far, though he did get first-team reps during 2010 OTAs, when Penn was holding out for that monster contract he eventually got on the opening day of training camp of that year. As I’ve suggested above, Penn will not truly be missed in the run game, and personally, I do not believe there will be much of a noticeable dropoff at all in run-blocking – if anything, we might even see improved run-blocking from that position as a result; and likewise, he has been a liability in pass-protection, on his inside, up to this point. But that is the most ironic part of the whole story.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    SMH when I think that everyone was guy calling my guy STUPID-IDIOTIC, AND FOOLISH for writing this back in 2011. It been 3yrs now, Penn has giving up 25 sacks, countless pressures and quarterback hits. Time stop praising mediocrity. And move on from this Sub-par talent.

  30. Vic Says:

    You guys really don’t get how good Penn is in relation to the other NFL left tackles. Get a clue.

    Penn is good enough to keep, and I think that’s the only point Joe made.

  31. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Yep we get no Clue why we should keep him; your right

  32. Vic Says:

    @LuvMyBucs – stop with the BS 25 sacks, like very sack is on the O-linemen. Your stuff is moronic.

  33. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @VIC

    No need for Childish name calling. We’re all grown men here. Keep it classy. He’s admitted he’s played poorly. And yes he’s giving up 25 sacks over 3yrs. There’s been Vet’s & Rookie quarterbacks. With Rookie & Vet LT’s alike, that have giving up less sacks over the same period of time.

  34. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Joe

    “Odd how Penn’s NFL peers voted him among the top 100 NFL players of 2012. –Joe”

    As I recall he was at the Bottom of the List. And many went to twitter & other social outlets( As well as fans * beat writers) To say that he didn’t deserve to be on the list. That he was highly overrated.

  35. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Joe

    And wasn’t Josh Freeman on that List?..lol

    Yes, deservedly so after the 2010 season.–Joe

  36. gt40bear Says:

    His play has been slipping for the last couple years. Everyone is all up in arms about having an average QB but not when it comes to an AVERAGE LT. Why is that, I wonder? I say keep him for short term, restructure if possible and actively search for his upgraded replacement. Offensive line is a MUST to upgrade or the offensive will be as awful as it was last year regardless of what scheme they use.

  37. buchead407 Says:

    Lets see who gets healthy and bring in compitition. Can’t replace all three of those guys this year

  38. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    I would try to trade Penn for draft picks. Surely a conditional second pick could be had for a top 100 player of 2012? King Lovie is coming in his first year, if he makes drastic moves, He can make this team good for the long haul.

  39. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @@Joe

    Unfortunately they both have clearly digressed. Since being bestowed with such accolades.

  40. lurker Says:

    and how many sacks did glennon give up? his slow ass couldn’t move or avoid the flu.

  41. Brandon Says:

    The problem with moving Penn to RT is that Demar Dotson was our best OLineman this past season.

  42. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @lurker

    The Kid had absolutely no time in the pocket. He would hike the ball and admittedly
    have pressure up the middle and on the outside. How can you perform your duties at quarterback and go through your progression with pressure like. Honestly he played admirably under those circumstance. Sure he still plenty to work on, as all 1st year quarterbacks do. But we must improve that Line.

  43. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Would be interesting to get Greg Cosell’s or LeCharles Bentley’s unbiased view on Penn. Lol

  44. SAMCRO Says:

    We should go after the Saints FA tackle Zach Strief or, and Baltimore’s Eugene Monroe. I guarantee they are both better than Penn.

  45. Couch Fan Says:

    You confuse me with your support for admittedly middling talent at LT and GM.

    ———————————

    Well according to the posters and clearly Joe agrees. All you need is to draft a great QB and that fixes all your problems. Hell you dont even need a decent Line or receivers or RBs according to them.

  46. Bucsfanman Says:

    Penn’s play was obviously less than spectacular this season as was everybody else on the O-line. Problem is, you can’t blow up the whole line in one offseason. We already have to brace for the possibility of Nicks not returning and inevitably replacing him, and Davin is a question mark as well. That’s too big of a loss.
    Penn should/must remain on the team if for nothing other than stability.

  47. lurker Says:

    Couch Fan Said:
    January 17th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    You confuse me with your support for admittedly middling talent at LT and GM.

    ———————————

    “Well according to the posters and clearly Joe agrees. All you need is to draft a great QB and that fixes all your problems. Hell you dont even need a decent Line or receivers or RBs according to them.”

    ============================

    not at all what was said. this is our best chance to get a better qb. those are harder to find. o-line, d-line, te, and what ever other perceived hole there is can be achieved in free agency or the coming years!

  48. Capt. Tim Says:

    Thank you again, to all the Clueless. Your trashing of the best LT in team history continues to provide me with riotous laughter.

    Are you also the same ones who don’t think Revis is talented?
    I hope so. Reading those post provide comic relief, to help pass the time until the draft and free agency

  49. BoJim Says:

    LUVMYBUCS

    TL;DR. – Too long. Didn’t read.

 
 

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