Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice and Tackle Donald Penn
Welcome back, Donald Penn.
The Oakland Raiders veteran lineman jogged out onto the practice field Wednesday afternoon, greeted by a bevy of claps and cheers from his teammates and the coaching staff alike, as he made his return to the team's Alameda, Calif., practice facility for the first time since Mandatory Mini-Camp wrapped up in June.
Placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list on July 29, Penn did not participate in the entirety of Training Camp 2017, or the Silver and Black's first two preseason games against the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams respectively.
"Obviously, he's our teammate, we love him," said quarterback Derek Carr following Saturday's game against the Rams. "We want all of our teammates here. When it comes to another man's situation, I just stay out of it."
Penn's return is significant in myriad ways. Not only does it once again solidify quarterback Derek Carr's blind side on the offensive line, but it also gives Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice options on how to address the right tackle position.
In his stead, veteran lineman Marshall Newhouse – who was signed in free agency to theoretically take over at right tackle – has been handling a bulk of the work at left tackle, and has performed admirably according to Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing.
"He's a true pro though, we saw a good amount of him in the offseason, even though we were in pajamas out there," Downing said. "We saw him at right tackle in the offseason, and we trust his preparation, and his ability, and his ability to transfer technique from the left to the right, so that's going to be a fluid situation until we get to Tennessee."
With Penn now likely returning to his old spot on the blindside – where he has made 48 starts since joining the Raiders in 2014 – Newhouse and second-year lineman Vadal Alexander figure to battle it out for the starting job on the right side, while also providing some ever-coveted depth across the front five.
It remains to be seen if the 34-year-old Penn will suit up Saturday night when the Raiders take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 of the preseason.
As far as the specifics of his return, the Raiders will have to remove Penn from the Reserve/Did Not Report list and move him back to the active roster. During his absence, Penn did not count towards the team's 90-man roster, but with his return, the Silver and Black will have to make a corresponding move to free up a roster spot.
UPDATE:The team has announced that it has waived defensive end Jimmy Bean to make room on the 90-man roster.