Bucs nearly pull plug on pass to Penn after JumboTron spoiler
Bucs left tackle Donald Penn said he had been lobbying to the coaching staff all year - even last season - to throw him a pass in a goalline situation like they did on Monday's opening drive, resulting in his 1-yard touchdown catch.
Penn not only has a lot of confidence in his hands - and athletic ability - but believes it's a great play because they run so much power runs they make.
But coach Greg Schiano admitted they were second-guessing the call Monday when - during a stop in the action due to Mike James' ankle injury - the JumboTron almost called their shot.
As the Bucs were facing 3rd and goal at the 1-yard line, James was carted off the field with a fractured left ankle. During the timeout, the Bucs honored Penn for his 100th career start (Monday was his 101st) on the JumboTron, including showing highlights of Penn's previous touchdown catch in November 2010 against the 49ers.
Schiano couldn't believe it, as it looked a lot like the play they were about to run.
“It’s on the JumboTron," Schiano said Monday, smiling. "We’d already called the play when (James) goes down. That stoppage in play – I knew we were going to recognize Donald, which is neat. They recognized him because his 100th start was on the road, so they recognized his 100th start for the crowd. I was great with that, then [quarterbacks coach] John McNulty says ‘They’re playing it on the board.’ So the conversation on the headset, you wouldn’t believe it. I said ‘You can’t make this stuff up.’ Cooler minds prevailed and one of the coaches said ‘We can’t let the JumboTron make our decisions.’ They brought two off the edge and Mike Glennon made a great [throw] in the face of pressure, [he] just kind of popped it over. I think one of the most impressive things was Donald’s ability to put the ball over the crossbar, that’s a big man doing that.”
Penn admitted he was "a little nervous" when the JumboTron showed his previous touchdown play, but enjoyed the experience. Whether Penn gets another chance at a touchdown remains to be seen.
“That was a one-weeker," Schiano said. "Donald, as you saw on the JumboTron, has a little experience at it, so we felt good.”