Tag:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Posted on: June 21, 2010 2:22 pm

Eyebrow-raising comments by Donald Penn's Backup

Usually, when a veteran starter is away, his backup relishes an opportunity to fill in and maybe steal his job. Not so with Donald Penn’s backup Demar Dotson. In a story by Anwar Richardson on TBO.com, here’s what the Bucs backup left tackle, who was undrafted in’09, had to say after the team’s Monday morning mini camp session:

"I'm not saying I'm a good left tackle. I don't even know if I'm a starting left tackle or not at this moment. If you ask me, I'm not. I'm working at it, taking these reps while Penn is away and I look forward to Penn getting here soon and protecting Josh's blindside."

At leas the apparently humble and honest Dotson is relishing his opportunity to become a more versatile player. "At McDonald's, if all you can do is work the grill, if you got somebody who can work the grill and the tables, you lose your job," Dotson said. "That's all I'm trying to do, come out here and be more flexible in whatever they ask me to do, whether it's right tackle, left tackle, backup, starting, tight end, whatever."

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 21, 2010 11:30 am

Donald Penn's Messy Situation in Tampa

When the Buccaneers open mandatory minicamp today, they’ll be without left tackle Donald Penn. The frustrated fifth-year pro is holding out for a long-term contract, having refused to sign his $3.168 million restricted free agent tender. The Bucs have exercised their option to reduce his ’10 salary to 110 percent of his ’09 salary, which, in the end, cost Penn about $100,000.

Penn and Bucs GM Mark Dominik have publicly exchanged a few verbal jabs. Dominik recently apologized to Penn for a comment about how the left tackle gained 40 pounds during the second half of last season. Dominik did not know he was speaking on the record at the time but later said, "You should always live in a world or a society when you're always on and (my comment) was insensitive and that's why I apologized to (Penn).'

Penn is most frustrated with the fact that he went through a similar process as this last year. “You have to look at all these guys getting tendered. It’s their first year getting tendered. Only me and the guy from Houston (tight end Owen Daniels) got tendered two years in a row. I’m in a different boat than them. It happened to me twice in a row, so it’s kind of tough. I’m going to be patient, be calm and control what I can control. Everything that’s going on right now is out of my control. If we had a new (collective bargaining agreement) I would never have been in this position.”

One thing is clear: the Bucs and Penn both need each other. Penn can’t afford to sit out the season. He’d cost himself millions in the next round of contract negotiations if he did. And the Bucs can’t afford to be without Penn. They have absolutely no depth along the offensive line. Their only backup offensive tackle to even be drafted is Xavier Fulton, and he’s a callow fifth-round rookie.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 20, 2010 2:59 pm

The importance of running good routes

There’s more to protecting your quarterback than just the offensive line keeping the opposing defense from touching him. Receivers can do their parts as well. And that’s what the Tampa Bay receiving corps has focused on this offseason. Keeping QB Josh Freeman from throwing interceptions that aren’t his fault.

The way receivers can protect their quarterback? Running crisp routes and being where the quarterback expects them to be.

"In this league, if you're not running crisp routes, you're prone to turnovers and interceptions," Tampa Bay WR coach Eric Yarber told the Tampa Tribune . "If you're supposed to go 15 yards and you break the route off at 13, the quarterback is not ready to throw. If he throws it, he's late and that's when interceptions occur."

That was a problem last year when, according to the Tampa Tribune, a high number of Freeman’s 18 interceptions occurred when he attempted to throw to current Bengals WR Antonio Bryant. The article states that Bryant didn’t finish running some of his routes, leading to the interceptions, but Bryant has told Cincinnati media that he’s happy to be working with Carson Palmer because Palmer’s precision and timing will aid Bryant’s game.

Either way, Yarber is making sure rookie receivers Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams know the importance of running those pinpoint-accurate routes. Coming out of college, Benn was known as a player with size and strength but a guy who ran lazy routes and didn’t always give great effort. Williams, meanwhile, had off-the-field questions, despite good height and good size.

To help Benn and Williams visualize the way they should be running routes, offensive coordinator Greg Olson showed them film of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt – receivers who knew the importance of accurate route-running. If Benn and Williams show they can master that art, they’ll have a chance of earning significant playing time in a Tampa Bay receiving corps that’s pretty thin. 

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 18, 2010 4:07 pm

Bucs let go of Crowell

LB Angelo Crowell had a pretty good run from 2005-07, accumulating a combined 330 tackles, seven sacks and five interceptions for the Bills. But the past two years have been filled with injuries, including a torn biceps muscle in the second Buccaneers preseason game that cost him the 2009 season.

His attempt to come back this year ended today. By signing rookie Dekoda Watson to a four-year contract, Tampa Bay has released Crowell.

As the St. Petersburg Times’ Stephen Holder points out, the Bucs must not have been impressed with the progress Crowell has made to return from his injuries. It’s unclear how much interest he’d draw from other teams, especially since he hasn’t played since 2007.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 8:40 pm

Penn to skip mini-camp

The latest with Tampa Bay LT Donald Penn is that he’s not planning to show up for next week’s Buccaneers mini-camp. This, according to the St. Petersburg Times .

Penn, a restricted free agent, was offered a $3.168 million tender, but because he refused to sign by Tuesday’s deadline, the team lowered the offer by $100,000. Penn – like just about everybody else who didn’t sign their tenders – wants a long-term deal.

The reason why he might not get one? Well, according to whatthebuc.net – a Bucs fan site – Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik told a group of season-ticket holders Wednesday that Penn put on too much weight for the team to offer him a long-term extension. Though whatthebuc.net erased the original post because “people are going NUTS,” Tampa Bay officials told JoeBucsFan.com that the question-and-answer session was supposed to be off the record.

"I'm really disappointed," Dominik said in comments that Pro Football Talk has kept on its site. "When you think about a left tackle and how important that position is, especially to a young franchise quarterback. And that guy during the season gains 40 pounds and basically turns his back to nutrition and keeping himself in shape, that's disappointing to me. Rightfully so. I'm just being blatantly honest with you. And I expected better from him.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 15, 2010 1:36 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2010 1:51 pm

Donald Penn Ignores Deadline

Bucs left tackle Donald Penn has not signed his one-year RFA tender. If the Bucs exercise their option to reduce his salary to 110 percent of last year’s base salary (which GM Mark Dominik has previously indicated they’d do), then Penn could lose $100,000.

Tampa Bay has been high on Penn since they signed him as an undrafted rookie off Minnesota’s practice squad in 2006. Over the past few seasons, Penn – who is much bigger than his listed weight of 305 – has morphed his sloppy skill set and slow feet into a reliable all-around package. He engulfs pass-rushers early in downs in order to avoid facing them on an island. In the run game, he sets the edge and allows Tampa’s athletic guards to move in space.

The Bucs have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to submit a reduced offer to Penn. If they don’t submit a revised tender, he can sign their original offer.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
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