Donald Penn Graded High

January 1st, 2015
Raiders LT Donald Penn, who was jettisoned by the Bucs last spring, finished a strong season for the Raiders in 2014.

Raiders LT Donald Penn, who was jettisoned by the Bucs last spring, finished with a strong 2014.

Joe will never forget it.

The day the Bucs blew the dogwhistle, calling in the Tampa Bay pen and mic club to One Buc Palace to introduce their brand new free agents, Anthony Collins and Michael Johnson included, was the very same day incumbent left tackle Donald Penn was told his services were no longer wanted.

Fast forward nine months and Collins, the heir apparent to Penn, was benched, a healthy scratch even, for the final Bucs games. It all but signaled his exit from the team. Meanwhile, Penn, for less money than Collins, completed a successful season with the Raiders, not missing one play all year.

If one is to believe the spreadsheeters over at Pro Football Focus, Penn was one of the best left tackles in the NFL.

Donald Penn, LT: +2.4

Breakdown: Penn earned his 10th ‘green’ grade of the season as he was sound in pass protection as usual (one hurry on 41 dropbacks). Outside of a poor Week 15 versus the Chiefs, the free agent pickup has been solid all year for what has otherwise been a shaky offensive line.

Signature Stat: Penn finished the season with the eighth-highest overall grade among tackles, and fifth-highest in pass protection.

Bucs fans just loved that Bucs overlord of football operations Lovie Smith went drunken sailor with Team Glazer’s checkbook in the offseason in an attempt to improve the team.

What has outraged Bucs fans is that Lovie purged the team of players that still had gas left in the tank — at positions in which the Bucs blew chunks. Players went on to better teams — well, every team was better than the Bucs this year — and excelled, Penn being Exhibit-A.

Meanwhile, guys Lovie hand-picked were massive Karlos Pena-like whiffs.

This is why Bucs fans are on their knees wearing out their rosaries, hoping 2015 will bring productive changes to Lovie’s player evaluation.

41 Responses to “Donald Penn Graded High”

  1. MadMax Says:

    I liked Penn being here, hated to see him go, but I did think he was approaching the end of his career. Its nice to see he’s still playing good. Hindsight being 20/20 we shouldve kept him. Oh well, live and learn [LOOKING AT YOU LOVIE]

  2. Waterboy Says:

    Lovie needs to just stick to coaching and leave personnel decisions up to someone more qualified. He really screwed up this past off-season.

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. The Raiders have not fared much better record-wise, so obviously Penn isn’t making that much of a difference.

    This is why we need Koetter…he knows how to build an offensive line.

  4. buddhaboy Says:

    Yeah, not cool to rag out and sell out players that bleed for this team. What a lying jerk.

    But we were 4-12. How assanine does that sound now. i would punch him if i could, and of course, im a pacifist

  5. Ole Bill Says:

    Haha, if I remember correctly most fans on here were very happy to get rid of Penn.

  6. Bucnut2 Says:

    Bucbonsai, couldn’t disagree more on both points. This matters because it goes to lovies talent assessing skills or lack thereof. We let 3 lineman walk who had really good production and signed Collins, cousins, gilkey and eds. Which line would you rather have, penn, zuttah Larsen or the cast of misfits above. To your point on Koetter, the o-lines in Atlanta were and are terrible! On top of that Atlanta had great offensive talent and produced mediocre results. He’ll probably be our OC. Lovie seems to like terrible line play and unimaginative and boring offenses. You may get your wish and will be headed to more 5-6 win seasons!

  7. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Obviously, Lovie was the one who wanted Josh McCown brought in. I think we can assume the same of Michael Johnson. Verner too.

    The others? I think Licht played a bigger role than you all assume. In fact, Licht said during a radio interview that he takes full responsibility for how the FA class turned out and that he needed to do a better job this year. He said “HE”.

    Not “They”

    So you guys blaming Lovie for everything are a bit off in your accusations.

    I think Lovie offered Tedford the world to join us in Tampa…part of that offer was an all offense draft. I also think Tedford robbed the Bucs blind.

    So far as our Free Agents, there is no arguing that they have mostly sucked. The only one that has produced well enough to stay is Verner.

    Mankins was not great, but he wasn’t horrible either. The rest of the line was horrible, and he could not make up for it. I think he will do better with better players around him, but there is the age factor too. Might be worth keeping him one more year, just to have one less spot to fix this year.

    Michael Johnson was nowhere worth the money, but playing in a new system and his injuries might be the reason. Regardless, we are stuck with him another year because of his cap hit, so hopefully he’ll improve next year.

    Verner was in a new system as well, but he has been adjusting a little better. Come next year, I think he’ll completely settle in.

    EDS and McCown need to be shown the door, though I wouldn’t mind keeping McCown as a #3 just because of his off season mentoring.

  8. SAMCRO Says:

    If Penn had played better in 2013 he would have remained on the team, instead he coasted through that season all pissed off about his buddy JF5 and it got him run. Maybe Joe should have encouraged Penn to pick up his game at that time. That’s what good friends do, instead of biatching about it in hindsight. What if Penn had done badly this year would Joe have given kudos to L&L for recognizing Penn’s early decline and moving on? I doubt it… smh

    Dude, Joe was extraordinarily clear through the second half of last season that Penn wasn’t done and was worth keeping. –Joe

  9. Bucnut2 Says:

    Joe, you nailed this one!

  10. Bucnut2 Says:

    Joe, have you read the articles on how Johnny football was coached to say all of the right things during interviews like ” Ive learned from my mistakes so, they are in the past,I’ve matrured”. I’m. Asking because after today’s game we are about to get a sales job on Winston the likes of which we’ve never seen. The goal will be to gin up the fan base , making it impossible for the bucs to pass on him. I hope you are right about your assessment of him. In today’s post Ray rice nfl a repeat of his “consensual” sex act will get him suspended for a long time. I’ll repeat what I’ve said before Winston has big time nfl talent, but his character issues and judgement make him way to risky at #1 overall.

  11. Biff Barker Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The others? I think Licht played a bigger role than you all assume. In fact, Licht said during a radio interview that he takes full responsibility for how the FA class turned out and that he needed to do a better job this year. He said “HE”.

    Not “They”

    So you guys blaming Lovie for everything are a bit off in your accusations.

    Love Me Not’s resident shill.

    Here’s the inconvenient truth….

    “I’m gonna, in the end, I’m going to make all the decisions, like I’m responsible for everything in our program,” Lovie said. “I’d like to get the coordinator in position, and from there, we’ll go forward.”

  12. Bucnut2 Says:

    Zamcro, joe is correct on his penn comment

  13. Joseph Mamma Says:

    I for one am terrified of the future if Lovie is in charge of making personnel decisions. Most (probably all) of his moves switching out lineman sucked. Every single one should be corrected this offseason. He should not have any say at all with the offensive personnel. None.

  14. MGM4Life Says:

    Penn, Zuttah, Larsen, Joseph. All jettisoned and all having good or at least productive seasons. Makes you wonder WHAT IF whomever had the bright idea to cut would have kept them instead. This is why I do not trust the current brain trust at one buc place with the number one pick.

  15. HawaiianBuc Says:

    I’m just going to sit back and read the comments and laugh at all the people criticizing this move. These are the same people that practically threw a party when we cut the guy. Joe is just about the only person I remember who wasn’t crazy about this move, but I really enjoy watching all the others revise history. Keep it going guys!

  16. MGM4Life Says:

    HEY JOE. PLEASE do not leave out Micheal “The Invisible Man” Johnson and his replacement in Cincy. Thanks

  17. Gooberville Says:

    As you have stated on multiple occasions Joe, you’ve never seen an o-lineman or left tackle carry their team to the playoffs. I love Penn and always have but this is water under the bridge. Lovie and Licht have to get it right this time. Their jobs are on the line. If it doesn’t work out, Lovie will look bad at the all the bad moves he made and wonder what if…

  18. Bucnut2 Says:

    Joe why are my comments awaiting moderation?

  19. Gooberville Says:

    Let’s hope the owners allow Licht to bring in the personell needed for Lovie to coach. One would think Lovie would want this as well being that is supposed to be one of Lichts strengths. Otherwise Lovie has learned nothing in the basement. What I do find interesting is how we tend to give credit or blame to either the coach or GM. Dominik gets praises from Joe constantly on the last two drafts when many believe it was Schiano. This year Lovie is getting the blame on FA’s even though Licht is the GM. One has to think the blame and credit is a group effort on both accounts.

  20. Zam Says:

    I still wonder how many of those moves were based on Tedford’s recommendation. It would make sense that the O/C is who would evaluate the offensive talent at that point, before Licht’s merry band of scouts had a chance to dig in. No wonder then that Lovie didn’t want him to come back.

    If so, there’s additional reason for hope for next season.

  21. DallasBuc Says:

    Bonzai- a left tackle is not scoring points and getting after the passer. He cannot single-handedly win football games for a bad team. I don’t know you to be THIS ignorant.

  22. buddah Says:

    Has Penn ever been on a team that had a winning season? Case closed. Licht wants to build a winning culture.

  23. Jon Says:

    Bucnut2 nailed it in his posts too.

  24. Eric Says:

    I was one of those guys who thought Penn was done and thought Collins was an upgrade well Foolish Me!

  25. John Ensch Says:

    I think Donald Penn’s play improved because he was the recipient of a wake up call by the Bucs when they cut him. Plus I believe he was motivated by the “I told you so factor.” He wanted to show the Bucs “I can still play”!

  26. foghead407 Says:

    Penn was one of my favorites

  27. gatrbuc17 Says:

    C’MON JOE. Im ready for you to cram some more love for a thief and a punk that you want to lead my team.

  28. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    @Biff Barker

    That was this December. We were discussing last preseason, Biff.

  29. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    Exactly. This isn’t a Lovie only thing. Licht played a role. Tedford played a role.

    I am of the belief that Tedford sold Lovie a bill of goods, and Lovie, having had issues with offense in the past, and knowing Tedford the way he did, bought into it.

    I understand the need for time off because of his heart. But I said WAAAY back when he was hired…they were not hiding the offense last off season because they wanted to surprise opponents….they were hiding it because it needed so much work.

    Joe even did a story on how Josh McCown was going over the playbook with Tedford, explaining what would work in the NFL and what would not.

    Lovie did not “ruin” Tedford. Tedford wasn’t what he claimed to be from the start.

  30. Brian D Says:

    Just a perfect example that coaching is the issue. Warhop sucks. 4 of our 5 offensive lineman were really good players in 2013, so what happened? Warhop and Arroyo happened.

  31. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I thought at the time that getting rid of Penn and Zuttah were bad ideas!

  32. LUVMYBUC Says:

    Donald has always been a good athlete. Weight & Motivation has always been a problem. You don’t have to review a scouting report of when he was coming out of college to understand that. Mark Dominik thought putting a yearly 400k workout bonus AND 600k weight clause would, keep his weight and condition in check.(nah)

    Bottom line Donald put out bad tape (real bad according to reviews). And because of that he lost MILLIONS. You gotta give big fella props though, Donald responded by putting himself through what he recalls – the most vigorous off season conditioning ever.

    He spent a lot of time playing basketball to improve his lateral movement and explosion. Countless hours in the gym going through strength & resistance training drill. Losing Millions + the need to provide a quality living for his family was all the motivation he needed. Now he plays ball in his home state…and suits up for the team he grew up cheering. No Harm -No Foul….wish dude the best!

  33. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Bucnut2 Says
    “Bucbonsai, couldn’t disagree more on both points. This matters because it goes to Lovie’s talent assessing skills or lack thereof. We let 3 lineman walk who had really good production…”

    Revisionist history…and not accurate in theory.

    First, are you claiming that no team releases talented players? Not even for cap reasons?

    We had one of, if not THE most expensive offensive lines in the NFL. And “good production” is completely inaccurate, revisionist. The offensive line was an issue even then, just not as big an issue as it is now.

    Certainly not worthy of the high amount of money spent on it. And we don’t know if any of them were willing to renegotiate their contracts for less money (with the Bucs). We don’t know what went on behind closed doors.

    I believe only Zuttah was worth keeping, but he had just gotten his new contract (the year before?) and had to be a cap thing. The Bucs also cut Revis, which was a very wise move because HE was overpaid as well (which is why he is playing for less now).

    Mark Dominick was good at negotiating, but he still blew it on a few players. Oline and Revis the worse.

  34. LUVMYBUC Says:


    I haven’t posted ANY links for awhile now-I don’t ever attack U or your posters.
    So can you tell me-why EVERY post I’ve made over the past week needs moderation? I know your not the biased type-And if there was any real problem we could easily squash it. So let me know ..then I can correct the issue.

    Happy New Years!

  35. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    And, I would take Mark Dominick over Jason Licht any day of the week. Licht has done nothing to prove himself. Nothing at all.

    People say Mark could not spot talent? Neither has Licht. Lovie gave the last draft to Tedford. The free agents were a Licht/Lovie thing.

  36. MariotaOrWinstonOrWalkdaPlank Says:

    Penn was awful last year and getting older. What did you expect? Obviously with the season in the rearview, it was a mistake (especially to pick up that lawnchair Anthony Collins).

    But if you’re the new HC, and you’re offensive line was one of the worst in the league last year, are you going to keep it the way it is? Penn played like garbage in 2013, he wasn’t the worst guy out there but he was part of the problem.

    Lovie went all the wrong ways about bulldozing it though.

  37. Bucnut2 Says:

    Bonnie penn likely would have renegotiated and Larsen cost nothing. With all due respect, just admit that we would have been better off keeping those 3 and NOT spending a ton of money on Collins and eds.

  38. mac Says:

    I watched most of the Oakland games this season… My dad is a huge Raiders fan… Donald Penn performed admirably… He is getting slower and he struggled against the faster, athletic pass rushers just like he did last season when he gave up like 12 sacks… However, OC Greg Olson has a history with Penn and new how to scheme around his insufficiencies and would help him out with chip blocks from backs and TEs…

    I like D. Penn… He would have been better than the giant pussy Collins turned out to be… However, he needed to renegotiate his contract and I don’t think he was willing to do that…

  39. Mt Tom Says:

    Good for Penn. If he had been here this season he would have LOOKED horrible because the offense was so bad. Heck, most O line players
    ,Individually, would have looked bad with this O line and coaching. Happy Penn found a place he fit in.

  40. sho-nuff Says:

    we’re screwed with ‘hubris’ and his ‘claymation lapdog’ running this team….find a hobby bucs fans or waste your sundays with these clowns running the team….just sayin

  41. Capt.Tim Says:

    Im glad he’s gone.
    I spend seemingly endless amounts of time trying to point out to idiots, that we had one of the best left tackles in football. And as always here- you have the uneducated dumping hate on him. Apparently because we didnt spend a 1st round pick on him.

    While i support Lovie- this was the one move that was purely stupid. And i said so, while others were celebrating cutting the best Left tackle in Buccaneer history.

    Im glad hes gone. He deserved smarter fans, and his great talent appreciated.
    They love the man in the raider nation

    The fans here deserve Collins. Deserve to see our offense fail repeatedly as DE’s make themselves at home our Backfield.
    Dotson was average at best.
    We will probably struggle for years, to find someone half as good as Penn
    Eventually, we will be forced to spend a high first round draft pick.
    While Penn continues to dominate in Oakland.

    I dont want to hear it. Its what the majority of you ignorant sobs wanted.
    You got what you deserve. A hole we will be unable to fill- and will cripple the team for the foreseeable future.

    Its what you deserve!!