The Raiders' 2016 season was going so well. They were a trendy pick to be the team to unseat the Patriots as the kings of the AFC. And then it all came crashing down in the game against the Colts where Penn allowed the only sack he would give up all year- a sack which would result in QB Derek Carr breaking his leg and for all intents and purposes ending the Raiders' season.
Penn has taken that pretty hard and personal, and he talked about it in the Raiders' conference call this week:
Q: How long did it take to get the bad taste out of your system?
Penn: "When’s the first game? September? Probably when the whistle blows and we hit somebody else and get it going again. The good thing is, when you’ve got that bad taste in your mouth out here, it makes you work harder. It makes you put in extra work because that taste is still in there and you don’t want to have that taste anymore. It’s good having it now because we’re working hard and putting in that much more work."
It's hard to imagine the Raiders' offensive line being much better than it was last year, with neither starting guard allowing a sack and Penn only allowing the fateful one. But if there's one thing that might push them to play at a higher level, it's the knowledge of what might have been if they'd been better for one singular play.
Every team on the Raiders' schedule should be quaking in their cleats at the thought of Donald Penn being even stronger and more motivated than he already is, and a Raider team primed and ready to dethrone the Patriots and lay claim to the Lombardi Trophy.