Donald Penn trotted on to the Oakland Raiders’ practice field on Tuesday donning his familiar No. 72 at a very peculiar spot on the offensive line.
Restructured contract — check.
Off the PUP list — check.
Back at practice — check.
At right tackle — what!?
They talked to me about it, about trying it out,” Penn said to an intrigued media after practice. Seeing what it would do. Seeing how I feel over there and I told them I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win. If you guys feel like this is going to be in the best interest of the team, I’ll do it. Today it felt very awkward and rusty, but I need time to develop. I don’t know if that’s going to be a permanent thing or not yet, but it is something we’re testing out. I told them I’m all for it.”
Questioning Penn’s commitment to the Silver & Black looks like a foolish proposition now. He recovered from a lisfranc injury, took a pay cut and did what coaches asked. Rookie Kolton Miller remained at left tackle and, instead of protecting quarterback Derek Carr’s blindside, the venerable veteran Penn lined up next to right guard Gabe Jackson.
“Yeah, that was different,” Carr said after practice.. “I think he’s only done it a few snaps in that one game, New Orleans. Yeah, so it was a little different, but that’s why you have good players. That’s why you add good players to your team, so that when things happen you can put guys in different spots, so that helps us.”
“It was good to be out there. I need to get back in that good shape. I’m in shape, but I’m not in football shape if you understand what that means. Football shape is different.”
Time will tell if Penn remains permanently on the right side or if the Raiders coaching staff is experimenting.
Let’s hit the Quick Slants as fast as the Raiders moved Penn to RT:
- The Khalil Mack conjecture grows by the day. The Raiders can’t afford him, the Packers are going to trade for him, he’ll re-sign with Oakland next offseason. This much is for sure, the Raiders have control over the situation via the franchise tag.
- Only way Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden raise an eyebrow on an offer for Mack is if it includes multiple picks and players.
- Packers for example would have to offer the two first rounders in 2019, two second rounders, Kevin King, Josh Jackson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Clay Matthews. Absurd right? So is the idea of Oakland trading Mack — next.
- When Mack returns, Gruden’s expectations are going to exponentially great. What Mack has done so far isn’t good enough to meet the Gruden Standards. 70-plus tackles, 15-18 sacks, 7-8 forced fumbles and a defensive touchdown is the minimum.
- Judging Gruden’s reaction to the Obi Melifonwu health questions, the Raiders are miffed by the ailments that plague a player who was healthy in college.
- Rookie kicker Eddy PiÃ±eiro didn’t have any issue kicking field goals from the infield dirt. Gruden said they purposely put the rook there to see how he’d do. So far, so good.
- No matter the position, the Raiders would be best served starting Penn and Miller at the tackle spots. If Breno Giacomini is the starting right tackle, that’s an automatic casket for Carr.
- If the logjam at running back leaves Chris Warren III without a spot, I’d entertain the idea of moving him to fullback. He has the size and athleticism to be a Zack Crockett/Mike Alstott-type power ball carrier.
- Former Raider Sean Smith was released from jail. While he’s likely to face league discipline, I’d be intrigued to see what he would do on a Paul Guenther/Derrick Ansley coached defense.
- Gareon Conley returned to practice and is both moving well and made back-to-back sessions. He’s got to make up for a lot of lost time.
- Marshawn Lynch’s smooth 60-yard gallop for a touchdown was a thing of beauty. It might have been called back, but a spry Beast Mode is going to pay dividends for a power-run based offense. Â
Quote Of Note:
“It’s great to see Gareon out there. He healed quicker than anybody expected, so credit to him and our training staff. We need him to get some work.”
— Raiders head coach Jon Gruden