Donald Penn’s “Step Back Shocker”

June 23rd, 2014

Donald PennJoe enjoys keeping track of select former Buccaneers, especially standout Tampa Bay players.

After 108 consecutive starts for the Bucs, and very rarely sitting out a practice, Donald Penn is one of those guys.

Yes, Joe realizes many Bucs fans think Penn was a fat waste of a left tackle. But Joe’s analysis of Penn’s game never revealed the lazy, worthless play many fans believe Penn delivered. That’s why Joe wasn’t attempting cartwheels when Penn was cut in March so the Bucs could pay veteran Anthony Collins big cash to replace him. Collins never started half a season during his six years in Cincinnati. So Joe felt like the Penn for Collins trade was a bit dicey.

Of course, it was no surprise to Joe that Penn found work quickly in Oakland and Washington. And it’s somewhat interesting that Raiders offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who reports claim jilted Lovie Smith this offseason, was Penn’s lead recruiter to be Oakland’s starting left tackle, so Penn revealed recently.

Chatting with Oakland media, Penn also shared how jolted he was by getting cut by the Buccaneers. Here’s an excerpt of a Penn Q & A via the Raiders official website.

Q: In what ways did getting released motivate you to work harder?

Penn: “I always work hard, but getting released really made me take a step back, because I was in Tampa for eight years. I played a lot of football and I’d never been released before, except for my rookie year when I was on practice squad. It really was a step back shocker, but I try to look at it like it’s in the past now. I’m ready to look forward and look forward to the future. I’m happy to be a Raider and I am going to use that as fuel and motivation going into next season, and I’m going to use that a lot. It’s always going to be in the back of my head for the rest of my career.”

Q: Is that a big deal when a left tackle is moved to the right, is it kind of looked at as a demotion?

Penn: “Everybody has their own opinion on it, and my opinion is, that when a left tackle moves to the right, they’re usually towards the end, and I’m nowhere near towards the end. That was one of my biggest things with making the decision to come here and not to Washington. There are a lot of great guys in Washington. Bruce Allen, the GM that brought me in. Raheem [Morris], Jay [Gruden], all those guys up there. Doug [Worthington]. I have a lot more left tackle in me, and I plan on finishing my career at left tackle.”

It’ll be interesting to see what Penn might have left in the tank, especially after a training camp spent battling super rookie defensive end Khalil Mack.

Penn already has raved about Mack’s energy and intensity. Joe remembers Penn battling with another relentless rookie motor in 2011 training camp, one that belonged to Adrian Clayborn. Of course, that season started great but ended in the historic collapse that left Joe and many fans with deep psychological scars.

24 Responses to “Donald Penn’s “Step Back Shocker””

  1. Snook Says:

    Have to wish Penn nothing but the best in Oakland. Always showed class while in Tampa and was a consistent hard worker through a lot of rough seasons.

    Good luck, Donald!

  2. Louis Friend Says:

    He’s definitely got some gas left in the tank. We may strongly regret cutting him before long. At the very least keeping him for 2014 and having greater options along the O-line would’ve been better. But I get the reasoning, he is on the downside of his career, and he always seemed to struggle with his weight. Men on the plus side of 30 aren’t as agile when they can’t avoid the buffet line.

  3. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    I always wonder about the $$$. Is he playing for less out in Oakland than he would have made here? If so was there an opportunity to restructure him here? IE Was this truly all about talent or the cost of the talent?

    I think everybody agrees that Penn is a class act and I believe that includes L&L. Perhaps they just thought he was too expensive.

  4. biff barker Says:

    The second most talented fat Buccaneer ever.

    Yeah, he had a dismal last season for reasons unknown, but the guy was a very solid LT for 7 years here.

    Conversely, Collins has never started a single one.

    Good luck Donald, you may be missed.

  5. You Go Joe Says:

    “That’s why Joe wasn’t attempting cartwheels when Penn was cut in March” one of many reasons why I visit JoeBucsFan!

    OT Cutting Penn for a younger LT makes sense, and somewhat cheaper but not really. The thing that does not make sense, Joe points it out also, is getting a LT that has never played a full season. It is a gamble and if it fails it will be a horrible gamble. I’m not saying Collins is a horrible LT, he has showed talents in limited games. But it is very different when you play 6 games a year to 16 games a year.

    I hope for the best in Penn and also our new LT.

  6. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The oline destructure was probably 70% about the cost. Ii understand why it happened.

    People need to gget it in their heads that not all players are willing to restructure, especially right after getting the deal they waaited so long for. Even if they end up settling for less elsewhere it doesn’t mean they would have here.

    Bennett isss a prime example. He thought he would get more elsewhere and waanted out. It cost him the first year, but he got a raise this year.

    Player know it can happen that way.

  7. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Penn’s last 2 years were bad here, Just because there was 1 or 2 average games and a bunch of bad games does not make a player great. Out of all Tackles last year, Left and right, Penn was second to last in Sacs given up!!!

  8. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Just because Colins has never started a full season, doesn’t mean he won’t be effective. Everybody has to get there start sometime. His conditioning will be tested and there is risk involved in every personnel move. Penn wore down as the season went on it seemed the last few years so I think the Collins move was smart.

  9. The 300's Says:

    You might want to check his stats from last year and see how many sacks he gave up, plus his grade out at his position. Collins hasn’t given up a sack. Nuff said.

    Sacks allowed data is quite subjective. Not arguing against Collins. –Joe

  10. phil Says:

    I always liked Penn. I don’t think we lost any games because of Penn’s play. Plus he wasn’t costing us that much for a left tackle.

  11. sam Says:

    He was good when he was younger, but overpaid outta shape and getting older. Had to go.

  12. tiny tim Says:

    Penn was a “GREAT” player here. One bad year does not mean he had to go or should have gone, but the bucs made that decision. Lets not act like Penn needed double team help in order to block the elite defensive ends in this league. The man was on an island every game and had to also compensate for a below average guard playing beside him for much of his tme here. No, Penn was not the problem. I wish him well.

  13. kh Says:

    What on earth are the Penn supporters talking about?? He was awful last year and there was a continued regression in his form year over year. Penn was indeed a problem, just watch the Rams game if you think otherwise. He was beaten like a rented mule all game, that is not subjective.

  14. The 300's Says:

    Yes Joe, sacks against is subjective. But when you are talking between 6 and 12 from what I have read…… Penn is past his prime and the only thing that will make him play at any level above average is getting cut. So he may last another year with that motivation.

    Great guy. Loved him when he played for us. But good business decision. Freed up cap space and got a younger LT in the process. I don’t care what you use to gauge a player….. 0 sacks allowed is still 0 sacks allowed.

  15. BigMacAttack Says:

    Let the butthurt flow Donald. No question that Penn was aa good LT and had some awesome games against great DE’s. But his run blocking sucked because he was always overweight since day freakin 1. Donald Penn was not willing to put in the extra work it takes to remove that spare tire around his waste. He was able to deflate it a little at times, but it always came back and it surely affected his play. If Penn would have put as much work into getting into top physical condition, he would still be our starting LT and would be one of the best in the league. Donald wouldn’t put in the work and preferred to run his big fat mouth instead. He will not be missed because his work ethic was lacking.

    Do You Even Lift Bro???

  16. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Penn allowed a lot of QB Pressures, maybe not sacks. This was because he was not in tip top shape. It is hard when you make a fat boy a zillionaire, to ask him to stay in shape.
    Once these big men let themselves go, it seems to be the end for many of them.

  17. Bucnjim Says:

    Just another case of a nice guy at the end of his career. To say Penn was good or even solid the past two years is a stretch. All of those guys on the o line had a chance to be great……They were not!

  18. Kevin Says:

    I wish him luck. But I also think Collins is a younger stronger version with an attitude. Penn is no spring chicken and Collins is young. It is a roll of the dice but nothing is ever guaranteed. They wen’t with they’re gut’s

  19. eric Says:

    typical penn he will be motivated until he no longer needs to weigh in weekly then he will blow up to 380 and give up 3 to 4 sacks to Kansas City, Denver thank you Bucs for not falling for his lip service have fun in Oakland real Bucs fans have moved on Joe should too count this one as one who was not upset to see that clown shown the door!

  20. RustyRhinos Says:

    I just went and searched for some images of both Penn and Collins. Collins has never looked as large (read FAT) as Penn. Sure he has not started as many games, but he looks like he is always ready to play even deep into the season. Collins does not appear to put on all the excessive weight we have all watched happen to Penn at the end of each of season. Weight clauses or no weight clause. No disrespect to Penn thanks for your time as a Buccaneer, good luck as a Raider, but your no longer a member of the franchise. I personally can not wait for Collins to make us all forget Penn. Mark it down it will happen.

  21. Tiny Tim Says:

    I’m sorry, but you guys that keep saying Penn sucked for two years are clueless. The stats say he gave up only 5.5 sacks in 2012. Last year, 2013 was awful. So what some reported he was overweight during his time here. But there was no one ever complaining about Penn and his performance until last year. Throughout the years on NFL network, I would see analyst and current players say Penn was the most underrated player. He was. We never complained about Penn. Get off that!!!

  22. Swaggy64 Says:

    Penn and Joseph were cut and Jeremy Zuttah was traded because their production in 2013 did not come close to matching reasonable expectations for men receiving their compensation. The pay was way too much for their play. I don’t know if there was any attempt to restructure contracts, but I doubt any of them would have been willing to accept a cut as steep as it would have required. The offensive line was far and away the unit on the team that underperformed with the most putridness. Licht and Lovie’s attempts to rebuild the line may well prove woefully inadequate too, but they had to do something. Let’s hope the new-look line exceeds expectations.

  23. MadMax Says:

    I wish him well….a great guy!

  24. Big Rob Says:

    I for one will miss him. He was my favorite Buccaneer the whole time he was here. Of course being a hog myself I gravitate to the O-lineman