Ending his contract holdout and returning to practice this week was Raiders Pro Bowl left tackle, Donald Penn. He will see some reps in Saturday’s preseason game in Dallas along with the rest of the first team offensive line.
“We’ll get him a few reps,” head coach Jack Del Rio said of Penn. “We’re not going to play him long, but we’ll probably get him a few reps in the game.”
With Penn back, new right tackle Marshall Newhouse will return to right tackle where he was pegged when the team signed him as a free agent last March.
That means for the first time Saturday we will see the entire 2017 Raiders first team offensive line as it was intended to be heading into the season.
This is likely the only time we will see the five of them play together even for a short amount of time prior to the start of the season.
For Penn’s part, he won’t need much if any practice to play the position he’s always played. What he will need is to make sure he’s back in football shape. He has 18 days (counting Wednesday when he returned to practice) to be sure he’s ready for a 60-minute football game.
“There’s a difference between game conditioning and football conditioning and being in shape,” said Del Rio. “He’s in shape. He’s a veteran guy. He understands what he needs to do. So physically, he’s in condition now. It’s a matter of him going through the timing of getting his body in-sync with the demands of what we do. We’ll ease him in, give him a little bit this weekend. We gave him a little bit through the week of practice and we’ll be ready to roll.”
More important than Penn’s readiness, is the getting Newhouse back focused on his right tackle duties. Saturday’s game will help and with two more weeks of practices after that until the regular season opener, he should have enough time to acclimate himself back to right tackle.