Redskins Training Camp Quotes: LT Donald Penn

Redskins Training Camp Quotes: LT Donald Penn

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Redskins Training Camp Quotes: LT Donald Penn

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On the factors that went into his decision to come to the Washington Redskins:

“The main factor was I was playing left tackle again. I kind of reluctantly played right tackle last year, being a team player, but I’m a left tackle at heart. I’ve played left tackle my whole career. I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to start. I play left tackle and I know [Head Coach] Jay Gruden’s offense pretty well because I worked with his brother a lot and I worked with Jay in my first two years in the league, in Tampa. So, I have a lot of familiar faces here – [President] Bruce Allen, [Senior Vice President of Player Personnel] Doug Williams. They said they needed some help and we worked everything out, so I was willing to come in and help.”

On what he’s been doing to stay in shape during his time away from football:

“I’ve been working out at home. I’ve been working out at Proactive [Sports Performance]. Dwayne [Haskins], he worked out there during the offseason, so I met him and knew him. I’ve been working out at Proactive doing football work; worked out with Jackie Slater, the Hall of Famer a little bit to hone in on actual football stuff without just lifting and working out. But, I just kept my weight down, just been staying in shape so I’d be ready when I got the opportunity.”

On his expectations for the season if T Trent Williams does not return:

“We haven’t went that far. Trent’s one of my good friends. I reached out to Trent before I signed. We had a good conversation and we talked. We’re on the same page.”

On if he knows when Williams will end his holdout: 

“I’m not going to get into that too much. I mean, it was a personal conversation between me and Trent though, but I’ll just leave it at that.”

Image result for donald penn and trent williams

On his longevity:

“I got a whole bunch in my tank. The key word is left – left tackle – you feel what I mean? I played right [tackle] last year, I wasn’t at my best. I was coming off a Lisfranc [fracture], right foot injury. They turned that into my power foot, and I was out there struggling a little bit. I’m going be honest – I’m an honest person. The time off really helped. My foot feels great – I have no pain in it anymore and I’m back at a comfortable position where I feel like I can strive and be great at it and get back to my old self.”

On the differences between playing right & left tackle:

“If I’ve done it consistently throughout my career, it wouldn’t have been so hard. But I’ve been a left tackle since my second year in the league, so I’ve been a left tackle for 12 years. I haven’t gotten in a right tackle stance except for when I played in the Pro Bowl a couple years ago. So, if I was doing it a little bit more consistently, it wouldn’t have been that big of a thing. But they threw my out there two weeks before the season and said, ‘Hey, you’re playing right tackle.’ It was a big adjustment and I’ve never torn, strained, or pulled a muscle in my life and I pull my groin trying to compensate for that. It’s kind of like trying to write with your right hand at first, and I’m left handed. It was very tough. I tried to do the best I could, I tried to adjust, but I’m very much more comfortable at left tackle.”

On the days spent between his first visit with the Redskins and when he finally signed:

“Well, I had other teams calling and other teams interested, so I wanted to go home and weigh my options and I have been kind of comfortable the last five years being in Oakland because I’m from L.A. and my kids are out there, living close to home; coming out here is going to be a big decision. You know not seeing them as much and having to have them fly across the country, you know, while they’re in school and stuff, so I had to go talk to my family and then I wanted to weigh my options with these other teams and I wanted to make the best fit and best decision. The good thing is, the Redskins gave me time to do that and it ended up working out good. I’m here. I’m happy to be here.”

On leaving the Oakland Raiders as a fan favorite to play for the brother of his former head coach:

“It’s funny too, because [Raiders Head Coach Jon] Gruden texted me this morning talking about, ‘You can’t shake the Gruden’s’. We were joking. But I grew up a Raiders fan so it was kind of like a dream come playing for a team I grew up watching. I did a lot of special things there, I have a lot of special friends there and I was playing – I thought I was going to retire a Raider, but it didn’t happen like that. I’m always going to love my time there, I’m always going to love the Raiders. But now I’m a Redskin, I’m ready for this new chapter and I’m happy. And I’m especially happy to be back at left tackle because I’m so much more comfortable.”

On which Gruden brother texted him this morning:

“Jon.”

On when he realized he could be a Pro Bowl caliber player: 

“Probably in my rookie year when I was on practice squad and then Tampa picked me up on active. And on my first day of practice I was going against Simeon Rice, a Hall of Famer and I was kind of holding my own a little bit. I had a lot of vets there; Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, and Simeon and they were telling me like, ‘You could do this, like you could really – like you have the talent, you have the footwork, you could do this.’ I just kept honing it, kept working hard and you know just kept coming in and staying after and I just started you know, building, building, building and it just, it just worked out great. When I want something I’m going to do whatever it takes and now I’m going into my 14th year. Blessed.”

On the current Redskins offensive line situation:

“Well, I know the right side is very strong. I have watched them in the past and I know the right side is strong. I think the left guard, he’s really doing a lot better on the inside. He looked great today; my first time watching them. I feel like I am an older guy, so I am going to try and help as much as possible. I’m going to try to mentor some of these young guys. We have a great O-Line coach – one of the best O-Line coaches in the league – that was another big factor. I’m just going to try and help them as much as I can – give them my veteran leadership. I was already coaching some of them up today. I think we got a good group, I think we do. We got to lead the team, we got to lead the offense; especially I don’t know who is going to be the starting quarterback, so however it works out we got some good guys there. I know Case [Keenum] very much. Like I said Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] worked out with me in the offseason – he’s a great young kid. I like the pieces they have and the plays. It looks like they have been working hard and I’m just trying to pick up so it doesn’t look like I am slacking. I am just trying to go unnoticed and just keep working with them. We got a good thing going because if we didn’t, you know I am going into my last year; I’m not just signing to play, I’m signing to win.”

On Coach Gruden’s confidence that he will learn the offense quickly: 

“I picked it up: the terminology, the lingo. It was so great, they threw me in today and I was picking up pretty fast. I was surprised because when I got in there and met with them this morning, I’m like, ‘Oh, I know this. Oh, I know that. Oh, I know that.’ They’re very similar, you know they’re brothers, they’re very similar. I just left [Jon] Gruden’s offense and they’ve got a lot of similarities, you know a couple little calls and names. I was really surprised with how fast I was picking up today. I’m like, ‘Oh yeah; I got that, I got that.’”

On which tackle position he would play if T Trent Williams returns:

“If they want me to be the swing guy – we talked about that – I’ll definitely be the swing guy. You know, I talked to Trent [Williams] about that, too. So, we’ll see what’s going to happen, but right now I’m going to be focusing at left tackle. After practice, when we do extra stuff, I’ll probably work in a little right tackle so it won’t be thrown into me like I did last year two weeks before the season, you know. During the offseason, I’ve been doing both, too, so. I was working with Jackie Slater and during my workouts I was doing both just to hone in so just in case something did happen like that it wouldn’t be so tough on me.”

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