It seems Donald Penn missing the start of training camp has dominated the headlines early on for the Silver and Black. Training camp for the Oakland Raiders has gotten off to a rather impressive start, to say the least, of course, there have been some great moments such as Marshawn Lynch crashing an interview, but the biggest development has been the holdout of left tackle Donald Penn.
The team already has prepared itself in the early going as Scott Bair of NBC Sports wrote yesterday.
“The Raiders have adjusted for Penn’s absence on the first-unit offensive line, Marshall Newhouse playing left tackle and Vadal Alexander playing on the right.”
-Scott Bair on the Raiders recent adjustments
Would the offensive line be able to continue last years’ dominance without Penn?
Vadal Alexander has been seen as one of the Silver and Black’s most prominent prospects and is considered to be a future starter for this team but would it smart throwing him into the fire with a Super Bowl now an expectation in Oakland? Well, it might still be too early in camp to crown him the starting right tackle, and some observers believe Penn’s just putting up this charade to skip the grueling early stages of the season given his age.
Naturally, it would be the universal consensus that Kelechi Osemele would slide over a spot if a worst case scenario were to occur in which this holdout bleeds into the regular season. But given the early indicator that Newhouse will be anchoring the left side well that leaves in question as far as what exactly will that do to “Carr Insurance.” Newhouse is solid by all accounts, but he’s no Penn; in fact, Newhouse was graded with a score of below 50 per PFF the three seasons before last year in which he had his best coming in at 69.4. At the same time, Penn stood at 86.3 as the Raiders’ left tackle last year so you can’t blame Raider Nation for feeling a bit uneasy.
After seeing the job that offensive line coach Mike Tice has done with this unit since his arrival with Del Rio and Co., I’m fairly confident the group will be all right actually but as good as the behemoth that was in place last season though would be doubtful. Maybe the Austin Howard release came a little bit premature? For now, as always we must all take a deep sigh and have faith in general manager Reggie McKenzie and trust that this matter will be handled as best as possible because when it’s all said and done, franchise quarterback Derek Carr needs his familiar anchor.