Donald Penn knows what last season’s sack totals look like. The veteran left tackle gave up 12 in 2013, second most in the NFL. Not great by any standard, especially someone with a Pro Bowl to his resume.
Penn called it “one of (the) worst seasons of my career.”
He believes the Raiders will see better than that. Penn’s committed to proving himself again after signing a two-year, $9.6 million contract on Wednesday afternoon.
There’s motivation to be derived from recent performance, though Penn isn’t happy about being but by Tampa Bay either.
“They just added more fuel to the fire, the Bucs releasing me,” Penn said in a conference call with local press. “I do have a big chip on my shoulder, and I am ready to get back at it. I wish the season started in a month.”
The Raiders believe he can use that aggression to anchor a refurbished offensive line that could have at least three new starters. The Raiders signed Penn, offensive guard Kevin Boothe and right tackle Austin Howard in free agency.
Penn has experience has a track record of success, with generally solid performances 2008-12. Penn also hasn’t missed a game since 2006 and has been consistent during his stretch as Buccaneers starter.
Penn is excited to re-unite with offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who held the same post in Tampa Bay from 2008-10.
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“The way Greg Olson works as an offensive coordinator was big because I played with him for a couple years, and I had some of my best years as an NFL player under his offense,” Penn said. “I am looking to pick up from that.”
There were a number of selling points in favor of Oakland over another suitor in Washington, but one was an ability to play left tackle. The Redskins wanted him to play on the right, but the Raiders will give him a chance to remain put on the left. Menelik Watson will compete up at that spot, but Penn is the expected starter if he plays to his potential.
That didn’t happen during a trying 2013 season where little went right for the Buccaneers.
“There was a lot of stuff that went on with the organization that I am not going to speak on,” Penn said. “I had six different guards throughout the year playing next to me, two different quarterbacks and it’s just tough. Playing from behind a lot and stuff like that. A lot of stuff went into it, but that is the past. I am ready to move on, and I am looking forward to turning this thing around this season coming up.”