My mom used to tell me “One ‘oh shit’ ruins a hundred ‘attaboys’.” It hardly seems like a fair statement. You’d think if you did well 100 times, you’d be given some leeway on the one time you screwed up. But that’s not how life works much of the time.
Donald Penn found this truth out the hard way last season.
Entering week 16 against the Colts, the veteran left tackle hadn’t given up a sack all season long. Then he slipped and Trent Cole was able to get around the edge to sack Derek Carr.
As Pro Football Focus pointed out, it was the only sack Penn gave up last season. But that is of no comfort to Penn, who responded noting that sack was a “BIG 1” and adding that he is “gonna get better believe me.”
Man that 1 was a BIG 1 gonna get better believe me https://t.co/6Pfhb7xi8k— Donald Penn (@DPENN70) June 29, 2017
Had it just been a regular sack, that 15 plus games of attaboys for Penn would far outweigh the one sack. After all, the 32-year-old was still named to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his 10-year NFL career. And the Raiders even went on to win that game. That sack wouldn’t have been even a footnote.
Unfortunately, Carr’s foot was caught under Cole’s body as he twisted the quarterback down, breaking his fibula in the process. It was the worst possible ‘oh shit’ moment. One that ended the Raiders’ hopes of winning the AFC West and making a deep playoff run.
Here's that sack and injury to Derek Carr. That ankle is not supposed to bend that way. #Raiders pic.twitter.com/1pXAD02PlI— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) December 24, 2016
To blame Penn for the Raiders collapse in the season finale in Denver and their loss to the Texans in the Wild Card playoff game is ridiculous. But try and convince Penn of that. He naturally feels responsible and has been beating himself up over it ever since.
He said last month that he won’t get over it anytime soon.
"Probably when the whistle blows and we hit somebody else and get it going again,” Penn said of when he will get the bad taste out of his mouth. That’s September 10, which, as we know, is still 73 days away as of this posting.
On one hand, it clearly makes Penn work that much harder. On the other hand, you hope it doesn’t implant a fear moving forward that negatively affects his game (ie penalties, second guessing, etc).
There isn’t a quarterback or team in the league that wouldn’t be ecstatic to have a left tackle surrender just one sack in 16 starts.