Penn’s Replacement? A Basketball Player

May 24th, 2010

Joe is confident that when Bucs left tackle Donald Penn decided to take a siesta and sat out OTAs last week, it got Josh Freeman’s attention.

When the Bucs tentatively decided to replace Penn with a basketball player, Freeman likely wondered what the hell is going on?

That is just what the Bucs did: As it stands in late May, if Penn decides to hold out the entire season due to his frustration with the lack of contract talks between his camp and the Bucs, it appears a guy more known for his basketball skills than his football skills will fill Penn’s void.

That’s the message the Bucs are sending Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. Demar Dotson, a former Southern Miss basketball player, is slated to replace Penn.

Their objective was to see if Dotson, a basketball player in a football player’s body, could develop his football skills to the point he’s capable of playing regularly in the NFL. So far, Dotson is proving it is possible.

Now two years removed from Southern Miss, where his entire college football career amounted to seven games played as a defensive lineman, Dotson is strengthening his grip on the backup left tackle’s job.

“He made good strides,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris said of Dotson, who stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 315 pounds. “He has slowly built the confidence in my mind and our coaches’ minds that he can play here.”

To be fair, maybe the Bucs may have stumbled upon something. Dude is 6-9, 315. That’s a walking eclipse of the sun. And a decent basketball player needs to have good footwork, especially a post player like Dotson was.

Anyone who knows anything about playing offensive line also knows that footwork is essential.

Still, Joe is rather uneasy thinking a converted basketball player will try to replace Penn. Freeman should be equally concerned, if not frightened for his well-being.

26 Responses to “Penn’s Replacement? A Basketball Player”

  1. Snook Says:

    Dominik pulled Penn off the scrap heap in Minnesota… And he became a very solid starting LT. Can he do the same again? Why not?

  2. tnew Says:

    Exactly finding solid LT’s is easy. That’s why good ones usually have the second highest contract on their team. So obviously they are just a commodity. I saw a 6’9″ guy on the street just yesterday, looked light on his feet, sure he’ll be a great LT. In all seriousness, we have a LT in Penn that has played his position exceptionally. It has been argued that Penn is the best player on this team. Front office says weight is an issue. Penn comes back and gets in the best shape of his life. Team’s reaction:

    still waiting

    If it is a cba issue be up front, explain the situation with Penn and give him a better one year deal. At that point, at least the ball is in his court. Saying hey you signed this practice squad deal and even though you’ve become borderline probowl…you get to play with this deal.

    Dotson maybe great but he has 7 games at USM of experience. Lets work him in under Penn, then if he looks good trade Penn out. I would have to believe you could at min get a 3 or 4 for him.

    The Dotson thing is obviously a ploy to get Penn back in camp for his current contract.

  3. JimBuc Says:

    Joe said:

    “if Penn decides to hold out the entire season due to his frustration with the lack of contract talks between his camp and the Bucs”

    Much ado about nothing. Absolutely, 100% NO WAY Penn sits out this season. As long as he intends to continue playing in the NFL, this is a 100% “prove it” year for Penn. Not only will he play for the Bucs but he will play his best because he wants the payday.

    Penn has almost no leverage.

  4. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Wouldn’t go that far, JimBuc. After all, your friends the Glazers want Dominik to think long term, not short term. Long term thinking means covering the ass of your quarterback this year, as well as a locking up a young, proven left tackle who is very durable. …It’s very “short term” for Dominik to have Penn on the sideline in 2010. Not that it’s Dominik’s intention, but if that’s the end result, then it’s on Dominik. …That’s not good for any aspect of the organization, except for maybe Team Glazer. And remember, “money will never be an issue.” …If the Bucs are interested in “long term” thinking, then there is some leverage there for Penn.

  5. Cannon Says:

    Bah, Freeman can just roll to his right on every pass play.

  6. thomas Says:

    Exactly Joe.

    What Jimbuc and others including the Glazers and Dom fail to see is that locking up your young assets now like Ruud, Joseph, Penn etc is great for the long-term. The failure to do so causes many of us to question the intent of the PLan. Consider this re benefit of locking up young assets:

    1) The team has some leverage by arguing that the deal includes some financial consideration for the org if there is a lockout;
    2) It shows everyone that hard work and good play will be timely rewarded – which motivates;
    3) When the younger guys see the Ruud’s and Penn’s frustrated with the team for now paying them after years of great service – that is demotivating. Penn might be motivated to play well but it is to audition for another org.

    That is exactlywhy some of us believe that the Plan both long-term and short-term is more about being COST-CONSERVATIVE than winning! These decisions – to not sew up Penn and Ruud expose a flaw in the argument that everything that they are doing is good for the future.

  7. Eric Says:

    Even if Penn does cave in, and he may not have much choice, if he isn’t in training camp that is a problem.

    I keep reading that the Saints are negotiating a long term deal with Pierre Thomas, a RFA. Hasn’t happened yet but if they do how will the bucs explain not re-signing Penn when their division rival is taking care of Thomas? Something to keep an eye on. Surely Penn is as important to the bucs as Thomas is to the Saints.

  8. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Please Tampa, just PAY Donald Penn
    We have too much riding on this year to have a big hole at left tackle.
    Josh Freeman will not be able to find any of our new receivers when he is flat on his back, and what if he gets hurt because Tampa was too cheap to protect him ?

  9. Gary Says:

    I can’t argue against seeing what Penn has 1 last time this year b/f locking him up, especially with the CBA issues.

    But like I have said b/f, Dom can’t piss him off in doing so because he will leave out of spite when he is an UFA. Dom isn’t stupid, he isn’t going to let this contract dispute linger into training camp. If he has to, he should pay him a 1 yr. deal to get him into camp and earn some goodwill.

    If this dispute lingers into camp, then I will admit that the talk about the team being cheap must be true.

  10. Joe Says:


    Here is why Penn has limited leverage:

    Say he sits out this year. Then there’s no season next year (lockout). That’s two years of seven-figure salary Penn will never get back.

  11. Negative Nancy Says:

    Who cares if Penn sits out/holds out?

    I mean when all you are expecting is 5-7 wins in 2010 you’re not going to the playoffs anyway!

    Pay the basketball dude 350K and tell Elephant man Penn to take some peanuts this year cuz with a strike next year Donalds going to eat himself out of all his savings.

  12. BigMacAttack Says:

    I would much prefer to see Dotson used more frequently as a Blocking Tight End.

  13. JimBuc Says:


    Dominik will never have Penn on sideline? And, Penn would never allow himself to be on sideline? So not sure what you are talking about. They will sign Penn just like they will sign others. Much ado about nothing.

  14. JimBuc Says:


    Joe said:


    Here is why Penn has limited leverage:

    Say he sits out this year. Then there’s no season next year (lockout). That’s two years of seven-figure salary Penn will never get back.”

    Thomas, it is even worse than that for Penn. If there is a season next year, Penn is still in the same situation (save a new CBA) because he is only in 5th year. He really has no leverage.

  15. Negative Nancy Says:

    The Bucs offered the Elephant man a 1-year 3 million plus tender…

    Maybe someone should explain to Penn how many twinkies that would buy.

  16. Louie Says:

    @JimBuc, “…this is a 100% “prove it” year for Penn.” Huh? He proved it last year. The Bucs could have signed him for much less last off-season, but didn’t. Now, they are going to have to pay him almost double. This is a classic case of being cheap and paying more in the long run.

    I don’t think Penn will sit out the season, but I do believe he’s prepared to sit out most or all of training camp. What’s the worse thing the Bucs can do? Reduce his offer? Big deal, it will still be 110% of what he was paid last year. He’ll walk after this season for sure if that happens.

    I say Penn’s leverage is pretty good considering all the Bucs have behind him is a basketball player. The fact that they are bragging about him says, they are already in damage control mode. If they are really prepared to go with Dotson, they they really aren’t interested in winning.

  17. JimBuc Says:

    Louie — how will Penn “walk after the season?”

  18. JimBuc Says:

    By the way Louie, I was not commenting on Penn’s value, just on the situation he is in. He has almost no negotiating leverage with the Bucs because of his situation not becasue of his ability. That is what everyone seems to be leaving out.

  19. Louie Says:

    @JimBuc, what I mean is Penn won’t be a RFA forever. I think you’re assuming there won’t be a CBA after this season. There will be some kind of CBA with free agency and Penn will be a free agent who can sign with anybody. Besides, if an employer treated you poorly, would you re-sign with them? I’m sure Penn doesn’t give a rats a$$ that the Glazerhouse’s actions are smart business moves.

  20. JimBuc Says:

    If the CBA is worked out, we do not know how it will deal with people, like Penn, that are currently RFAs, correct? Seems reasonable, however, that the Glazers would know well in advance if there was a good chance that there would be a new CBA and, I imagine, they would start signing players, whether that be duirng the season or after.

    However, the other scenario is no CBA. In that scenario, Penn is either locked out or an RFA, right? So my point was just that Penn has little leverage and the near-hysteria is overblown.

    By the way, professional football players have a funny way of forgiving teams. Most are understandably only interested in the money. Do you think Penn’s value goes UP if he sits on the sideline this year? Only way it goes up is if he plays and plays well, right? I imagine that is why he has dropped all the weight. Hard to imagine he dropped it all to sit on the sideline looking pretty.

  21. Louie Says:

    Professional football players are forgiving FOR A PRICE. Do you really think the Glazerhouse’s will pay Penn top dollar to get him to forgive and forget?

    To be a “lasting contender”, they need a solid LT. Without Penn, they don’t have one. So, that’s leverage if you ask me — UNLESS winning is not a priority. You and the other apologists have tried to convince everyone that the Glazerhouse’s want to win. If you’re right, then they have to have Penn.

  22. JimBuc Says:

    Louie — I like how you resort to labeling me as an apologist when all I said was Penn has no leaverage. You said he had leverage but apparently did not consider all the issues. When I point them out to you, you changed your reasoning to the Glazers will not pay. Make up your mind

  23. Louie Says:

    @JimBuc, apologist seems like a pretty accurate description. You defend the Glazerhouse’s, Dominik and The Dream no matter what. That’s an apologist. Isn’t that better than all the name calling that has been going on?

    Penn is clearly one of the key players for the Bucs. He clearly isn’t happy with his contract situation, but the Bucs seem content to play hard ball. Sure, they’re well within their rights to do that, but is that really smart? Do you really think you’re going to get the best effort out of your players with that kind of relationship? For example, who’s to say Ruud’s performance issues last year weren’t related to his contract issues. Penn might have similar issues if his contract issues aren’t resolved. I guess the Glazerhouse’s are willing to take those risks, but will that stance result in a winning effort?

  24. Capt.Tim Says:

    Ruud’s performance last year wasn’t that bad. He was put in a bad situation due to A) changing defensive schemes in mid stream, whiich affects the Middle linebacker the most. He calls the defensive alignments B) horrible play by the Dt’s. Ryan Sim’s play last year was not up to NFL standards, he was a sieve. Both Rudd and Penn will play hard this year, if for no other reason than to increase their FA or trade value.
    That said, I totally agree we need to sign Penn to a long term contract.I, like many others , think he may be our best player. You don’t alienate a young, talented left tackle. Bucs need to get that situation handled. If Dotson starts anywhere this year, I’d rather it be because he beats out Trueblood. That’s a posistion of concern. If we pay Penn, we are set at LT for years to come.” The Plan “is to get younger and better, not let young talent leave and replace them with stop gaps. That was the old Plan

  25. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Zero Cares about the moves the Bucs make anymore… they deserve everything they get.

  26. tampa2 Says:

    How did Raheem slide this by us last year. All his other blunders were well reported! Here’s part of a quote from Dotson right before the beginning of the season last year;

    “I know I have every tool it takes to be a good offensive tackle, and I don’t want to let it go to waste,” he said. “The odds are against you, I know that. You come in as a free agent and at the bottom of the list, and knowing that “I have no experience at football, period, let alone offensive tackle….”

    So, Raheem is “creating” his own players now. Wow!