Donald Penn Talks To Joe

October 25th, 2010

Following Sunday’s thrilling victory against the Rams, Joe had some one-on-one time with Donald Penn. The Bucs’ left tackle talked about the running game, playing next to rookie guard Ted Larsen, his weight loss and more. Knowing you had a rookie first-timer in Ted Larsen next to you at guard who got in trouble with some penalties, did you have any words of advice for him during the game?

Donald Penn: I just told him to keep fighting, man. That’s been the motto of our team. This year and last year. You know, last year we lost a lot ofgames and we were down [by a lot of points] a lot. But one thing us as an O-line did was fight ’til the end. I think that’s one thing that’s helping us. It helped us in the Cincinnati game and against the Rams. You know, we always keep fighting. So when we do have a chance to win now, it’s easier now because you’re in the game, not losing and trying to push yourself to fight hard. Now you have a reason to push yourself hard because the score isright there and the team is winning so it makes it easier. I just told him to keep fighting.  I was tyring to help him a little bit (physically) but I was getting power rushed. But he told me at halftime, ‘Do you. Do your thing, I got it.’

Joe: Xs and Os-wise how were you trying to help Larsen?

Penn: I was sitting tight and trying to give him a hand. And then my guy was power rushing me and I wasn’t able to get off. You know, because I was trying to help him too much. I adjusted and the coach adjusted in the second half and brought the center with him so I could do my thing on an island. In the second half I played a lot better. I played pretty bad in the first half, the whole team did.

Joe: What else can you say about the O-line helping Larsen and his performance?

Penn: I told [Larsen] a little story. It’s a quick story. ‘I got in the game. I never got out since. It’s up to you to do it.’ He was like, ‘Thanks.’ It happens that fast, you know. I experienced that. I love seeing a young guy like that. I stayed in his ear. Coach stayed in his ear. [Jeremy] Zuttah and Davin [Joseph] stayed in his ear. He got tossed in that fire, man. It’s hard, especially in the middle of the season. It’s real tough. You know he wasn’t here all camp. So he’s still learning. My hat’s off to him, man. He came in and played his butt off. He got those penalties, came in the huddle and said, ‘My bad,’ and bounced back.

Joe: What was the difference [Sunday] being able to run the ball?

Penn: I can’t even say, man. In the second half, we came out and opened it up and I think it helped us. You know, we got this win. At halftime people didn’t think we were going to get this win and we came out and we were still close enough into the game where we didn’t have to pass, pass, pass. You know we got two good backs. It’s looking up, man. I keep telling everybody we’re working, we just need to get more consistent with the runninggame. We just have to get more consistent. The last couple of games we’ve been down, so it’s hard to get the running game down when you’re losing. We got to build off this.

Joe: Talk about LeGarrette Blount and Cadillac Williams.

Penn: I’m proud of Blount. And he’s got a great teacher too in Cadillac Williams. You know Cadillac’s a vet, and he’s a great teacher. He’s helping [Blount] every day in practice. He’s standing by Cadillac every day in practice and Cadillac is coaching him up and helping him out. We got some veterans and some young guys, but the good thing is the veterans are helping the younger guys and it’s starting to show. …We’ve been making it real hard on Cadillac, you know. I guess today we opened it up a little bit more. I think any running back that would have been back there would have made the same runs [Blount] made, you know, because we opened it up. That’s why I say it’s all up on the line. We gotta do better.  The last games, I feel bad for Cadillac. A lot of people are on him and on him and it’s not Cadillac’s fault. Cadillac can’t do nothing without us. You know, so we take that responsibility 100 percent.

Joe: You were on the playoff team in 2007, one of the few guys with playoffs experience on the roster. Does this feel like a playoff team?

Penn: Of course. I always have that feeling. I had that feeling last year. …We’re just being patient. We’re being humble. We’re going onto the next week in Arizona. We just have to keep winning, keep winning and keep getting better. You know we can’t do this the way we played the first half against another team. It might not go the same way. Luckily, it went our way.

Joe: You lost a lot of weight in the offseason. Do you feel better playing at this weight? And how did you lose the weight? Are there specific foods you gave up? What was the difference?

Penn: I just changed the way I was eating. That was the biggest thing. And I hired a trainer in the offseason. You know I never hired a trainer before. It’s hard to do it yourself. It’s hard to motivate yourself when you’re working out. It’s easy in a game when you have something to lose. So I have a trainer that was with me and is there for me. It’s working good. I feel great out there. I feel tremendously quicker. And that’s the biggest thing I needed.

11 Responses to “Donald Penn Talks To Joe”

  1. Dave Says:

    I’ll keep saying it:
    Round 1: DE (Quinn of UNC)
    Round 2: LG
    Round 3: MLB or S
    Round 4: RT
    Round 5: S or MLB

    The order is all subjective. It all depends on who is there but ROUNDS 1 & 2 have got to be DE and O-Line

  2. Troxell8t8 Says:

    I like Penn, he seems like a stand-up guy. I respect a guy whose willing to be critical of his performance and not make excuses.

  3. BigMacAttack Says:

    Josh Freeman is our best player, Penn is number two. Heady players.

  4. BigMacAttack Says:

    Nice interview Joe. So many TV sports reporters these days ask stupid questions. No class constantly, but Joe on the other hand is a professional.

    Joe, can you do an interview with Jimbuc?

  5. gotbbucs Says:

    Is there some unwritten rule that says that nobody can get praise in the running game because Caddy is there. I highly doubt that suddenly in the second half of the Rams game the O-Line magically began to open up holes and coincidentally that happened to be when Blount was in the game. Give me a break, Caddy just doesn’t have the burst anymore, at no fault of his own. Nobody does after two rebuilt knees.
    There’s just something not quite right with this O-Line, even when they had everybody healthy. I hate to say it but I’m starting to beleive that Jeff Faine was the weak link. I’m not sure what his contract numbers are for the next couple years but he surely isn’t worth top 2 or 3 money at his position anymore. Undersized and injury prone. Penn will never reach his potential without a better Guard beside him and the same goes for Joseph having to play beside Trueblood. It’s a damn shame because alot of money and high picks have been dumped into that unit but we will never be lasting contenders until that unit gets figured out. And it ALL can’t get fixed through the draft at this point. We’ve progressed too much in our rebuilding this year to be able to say that FA’s are out of the question, especially with the crop that should be available this offseason.

  6. Joe Says:

    I highly doubt that suddenly in the second half of the Rams game the O-Line magically began to open up holes and coincidentally that happened to be when Blount was in the game. Give me a break, Caddy just doesn’t have the burst anymore, at no fault of his own. Nobody does after two rebuilt knees.

    Joe’s been writing that since January.

    And commentors have been labeling Joe a hater as a result since January.

  7. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    One of THE best interviews I have seen lately Joe! I admire Don Penn for admitting he had to hire a trainer. It is hard to kick your own azz. And thank you Don Penn for the insight into Caddy helping Blount.

  8. gitarlvr Says:

    Sorry Joe, I feel your pain, but you will continue to be labeled as a hater for saying anything negative about Caddy or Raheem and Olson’s handling of the situation. Now if you want to unfairly bash the O-line go right ahead since apparently thats the one group of people in the organization you can criticize without people jumping down your throat.

  9. BamBamBuc Says:

    Hey, I’ll admit I thought Caddy would do much better this year after having a full season in last year and another full off season this year. That didn’t happen. It has nothing to do with his knees, its just that he’s getting to that point in his career where he needs BIG holes to run through. He never was a Ladanian Tomlinson type runner that could find room where there wasn’t any, but now he needs someone to part the sea in front of him to run.

    That said, this O-line has trouble parting their hair. We need a runner like Blount that will just run through tacklers, because he’s gonna get hit at or behind the line of scrimmage. The line STILL needs upgraded. They’re not that good. Could you imagine what Blount could do if the first guy to touch him was 5 yards past the line and was a Safety or Corner? Even a LB at 5 yards with Blount having a full head of steam would be wicked. Get an O-line and Blount could be in the Pro Bowl in coming years.

  10. gitarlvr Says:

    BamBam- It would be nice to upgrade the line to one that could part the friggin red sea, but realistically how many teams in the league have a line like that? It’s a lot easier to find a running back that can perform behind an average line than it is to build an entire O-line of studs that can make any back look good. At the end of the day all this crap is synergistic. YEAH I SAID IT. SYNERGY. AND SO DID YOUR A-HOLE CORPORATE BUTTLICKER BOSS AT WORK!!! Its truly amazing how talented running backs make bad offensive lines look good. JUST SEE JAMAAL CHARLES AND THOMAS JONES IN KANSAS CITY!!!!

  11. gitarlvr Says:

    Anyone remember Errict Rhett? The Florida Gators all time leading rusher. And the best Bucs running back EVER next to James Wilder. How bad was the Bucs O-line back then? But he managed to carry the Bucs to pretty much every single win they got when he was with them. Blount is a back with power, speed and vision and mark my words, if the coaching staff puts the game on his shoulders people will once again be talking about the Bucs O-line as one of the upper echelon lines in the league.