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May 25, 2012 @ 10:42 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

Penn To Freeman: "We Like The Way You Are Working"

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Donald Penn, one of just a handful of players with seven years of NFL experience on the Bucs roster, talked to the media this week about new head coach Greg Schiano and his thoughts on quarterback Josh Freeman.
The Buccaneers aren’t stacked with a ton of veterans. In fact 2012 could be the third season in a row that Tampa Bay fields the league’s youngest team. While just 29, seven-year NFL veteran offensive tackle Donald Penn is one of the Buccaneers elder statesmen, and said there are lessons to learn from a 4-12 season.

“One thing I did learn – when last year is over – it is over,” Penn said.  “It is totally a new year. You can’t think you are going to do the same thing you did last year just by showing up. You have to put in the effort and put in the work.”

Penn thinks the Buccaneers are on the right track with head coach Greg Schiano, and likes what he has seen from his new head coach.

“He (Schiano) doesn’t hide anything, he wants everything upfront,” Penn said. “100 percent real and it seems like he is going to try and do that back to you.”

The former Utah State star appreciates Schiano’s style.

“That is the way I try and live life,” Penn said. “My motto in life is to try and treat people the way I want to be treated. And I think that is what he is trying to give to these young guys. Don’t half-*censored* something if you don’t want the other guy doing it. You have to be on top of your game and you make sure the other guys are on top of their game. And with a young team that is something you need.”

Penn has lined up at left tackle for every game of quarterback Josh Freeman’s career, and knows No. 5 will need a bounce back season for Tampa Bay to be successful. Penn likes what he sees so far.

“I whispered in his ear today, ‘you know you are still my favorite quarterback,’ and he started laughing,” Penn said. “He is getting better. But you have to understand Josh has so much on his plate right now. He is learning so much and is getting so much thrown at him.

“With the offensive line we are out trying to make calls to make his job easier. He is getting so much (thrown) upon him. He is grasping it and doing a good job. He has to take it slow. Sometimes we have to tell him to slow down because he is getting overwhelmed, because he wants everything perfect.

“But right now we are learning and fixing things, everything is not going to be perfect. And he wants everything to be perfect. You have to sit back sometimes and tell him everything is not going to be perfect. We still have time. But we like the way you are working.”

Tampa Bay’s most experienced lineman noticed Schiano telling Freeman the same thing.

“I saw coach Schiano pull him to the side and tell him to keep working hard and doing what you are doing but not to get frustrated with yourself,” Penn said. “They are throwing a lot at him (Freeman) – they are throwing a lot at all of us – and we are trying to respond.”

Freeman ended 2011 throwing 22 interceptions after tossing just six in 2010, and Penn knows the cynics will be out in full force until Freeman proves he is more of the 2010 version of quarterback than the one he displayed in 2011.

That is how it goes,” Penn said. “When you are the top (quarterback) you get all the love and when you are at the bottom you get all the bad stuff. And he knows that. And like I said it is a learning experience. We have to learn from last year. I don’t want that feeling again and I don’t think any of these guys do.

“But Josh handled it well. And that is what he needed to do. It is maturing him and making him a better player and leader to lead us.”

Last modified on Friday, 25 May 2012 10:59

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  • avatar

    Horse: I didn't say Penn was in the top ten at his position. I said he was voted as a top 100 player in the league by players. You obviously don't have NFL Network. His peers think he's a good player even if Buc fans don't because he's a little hefty. When the opponent knew we were passing after falling behind by two scores he was put in a difficult spot and occasionally wasn't up to the task in 2011 but still managed to get voted as the 97th best player.
  • avatar

    scubog, you are right of course. The question I have is that if Penn was in the top 100 then he should have made All Pro with ease? I don't go by that stupid top 100 because that is all about popularity even more so than the way All Pro is accompolished. Okay I guess you were content with his play and he can be the way he was last year?
  • avatar

    Good advice Horse! However, I don't think Schiano will let Penn mess up this year by playing 50 lbs overweight. Wasn't that long ago Penn was an all pro and I am sure he would like to be back there too. Lineman just come into their own when they hit 30, so Penn still has good years ahead if he takes care of himself. One thing I really like about him is that he has been very durable, unlike our departed center. We don't have a high quality backup Tackle, so that is real important to the Buc's success. Good to hear that Freeman is taking this off season very seriously, and glad to hear as well that the line is back to making calls. Zutah is our smartest lineman and has played both Guard positions and was a Tackle at Rutgers, so I think he will do excellent making the calls at center, and he has played at center for the Bucs back when he has to make calls too. There was good insight in this article. Once our offense gets the new system down I think they will do super.
  • avatar

    owlykat, oh I agree with you. I too like the fat man and hope he can play in better shape to get back to the season before. I believe that fat man has to be pushed by coaches and this staff will do that. Penn is no dummy and knows where his paycheck comes from and knows what he has to to keep getting them. I want him to be the best left offensive tackle in the league. I just didn't care for what he said about expectations that he had last season and sees that he can't do that again here with this coaching staff.
  • avatar

    The only way to add 25 lbs of muscle in one off season is to juice and i don't think that is Donald's type of thing. Your point is well taken though, Horse. He does need to get his weight in check. I don't understand what he must be eating during the season to gain that much weight while practicing, playing on Sundays, etc. Quite an accomplishment, really, if he's shooting for a spot on the Biggest Looser after the NFL ends. All of that being said, I like Donald Penn. He's a terrific story and a good kid. Remember, Gruden refused to even acknowledge him because he didn't want him to get a big ego; now there's irony for you.
  • avatar

    Mr. Incredible, I agree that he was a decent player last year, but tailed off towards the end and probably ate his way to the end because he gave up. I also know that one can not lose 50lbs and gain back 25 lbs in just a few month, but i was trying to make a point which was to get in shape and reduce your weight in order to be quicker with the feet. I do disagree with Scubog that he was in the top 10 OL by the end of the season; maybe at the the beginning.
  • avatar

    In spite of Donald Penn's girth, he still was considered a top 100 player by his peers. Must be like Horse said, "we really have dumb people playing (and voting) in the NFL." Think it might have been a little tough on the O-line being behind two scores before the first quarter ended?
  • avatar

    It's exciting hearing how structured the plan is. I wish I had that type of organizational capability! I just hope the play calling is on point. Time will tell.
  • avatar

    Horse, that is funny as hell! You sound like the little man that should be in Donald Penn's head. The Trueblood comparison was classic. (lmao)
  • avatar

    QueDogg86, I am an old man, but not little. Can you imagine if any employee admitted something like that to his employer? Some of these NFL players are spoiled rotten and have no clue what life is about for most people in this world. All you can really do is laugh as to how naive they are; we really have some dumb people playing in the NFL.
  • avatar

    Could you imagine how his tone would be if we would've drafted Kalil haha
  • avatar

    Donald since you want people to be always real with you here is a suggestion from me and please don't think that I am picking on you. This is an observation: You are 29 years old and what you got away with before when you were a step quicker you can"t get away with it now not being in tip top shape. If Trueblood played with your body fat he would have been cut 6 years ago because he didn't have the talent that you had. Now it is time for you to lose 50 pounds of body fat and add 25 pounds of muscle. If you don't accompolish this before the season starts then this will be your last year because no team can afford to pay a starting player who plays average your kind of salary. Just my opinion, but it is very obvious that you have to strengthen your body, lose some weight, and be quicker on your feet. For you Donald, it truely is the Buccaneer Way now. By the way, how dare you even give the slightest hint that you were coasting last year and gave up by the end of that year!!!!!
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