With DeMarcus Ware on deck, Donald Penn and Bucs offensive line struggle
Bucs Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn has a considerable challenge before him this week. He has the privilege of lining up against Cowboys pass rusher DeMarcus Ware in Saturday night's home game, a task that comes on the heels of what arguably was Penn's worst game of the season.
Penn struggled against the Jaguars on Sunday more than he has in any game this season. It was Penn, for instance, who missed a block against Jacksonville outside linebacker Daryl Smith that led to a sack of quarterback Josh Freeman and a subsequent fumble that was recovered for a Jaguars touchdown.
"They didn’t play great on the left side of our offensive line," coach Raheem Morris said in his news conference this morning. "There’s no sugarcoating that fact. Donald Penn didn’t have as great as game as he usually has for us. It’s the first time this season that we’re actually talking about Donald Penn, so that alone tells you he didn’t play as well as he would like to. He’s aware of that. We’re aware of that."
On Saturday, Penn will face Ware, tied for second in the NFL with 15 sacks. He has just one sack in his past three games, but Ware also has had games like one on Oct. 30 against the Eagles, when he registered four quarterback takedowns. Even when Ware doesn't get a sack, he is a constant presence in opponents' backfields.
Penn's task of preventing a repeat of Sunday's performance begins in the film room this week, Morris said.
"We’ve moved on to the Dallas game because of the short week, so we won’t have the extensive film study and be able to go back and evaluate with Donald from a one-on-one standpoint, but I’m sure Donald will be in here today and he’ll evaluate himself and he’ll come see his coaches and he’ll get that fixed and get that corrected," Morris said.
"He struggled yesterday with the rusher he had against him and those guys did a nice job of taking advantage and getting our quarterback."