First-round pick McCoy, LT Penn are no shows at training camp
The Bucs will begin preparing for the 2010 season without their first-round draft pick to ignite the defense or the starting left tackle who protects franchise quarterback Josh Freeman.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and veteran left tackle Donald Penn were not among the players who reported to training camp Friday, coach Raheem Morris said. The Bucs first workout is Saturday morning.
McCoy, the third overall pick in the draft pick, is in Oklahoma while agent, Ben Dogra and general mananger Mark Dominik continue to swap proposals on a on a five or six-year contract.
What might help McCoy get to camp by Saturday morning's workout are the signings of two players taken below him -- fourth overall pick Trent Williams (Redskins) and fifth overall choice Eric Berry (Chiefs) each signed six year deals worth $60-million Friday.
"McCoy, he's not here. Hopefully, he'll get done,'' coach Raheem Morris said. "That's just the nature of the beast and I've got all the confidence in the world in our front office to get that done.
"Donald (Penn) is not here. I've talked to him and I patiently await his arrival...Every conversation I've had with Donald have always been positive and I think they will continue to be that way. I think they've been positive with his coach, I think they've been positive with people around the building and we'll just have to wait and see.''
Morris said in the meantime, he will focus on the development of Demar Dotson at left tackle.
"You look at that side no matter who is over there,'' Morris said. "That's the hot corner. That's third base. That's a great place to look if you're a defensive coach looking at your offense. Your quarterback's blind side, how well he's protected, how good those cutoff blocks are, how big that man is out there, that's probably the premier rusher on that football team...So I'll be watching that side, just like normal. I'll have my eye over there.''
Morris did not want to predict when Penn might end his holdout.
"You want Donald Penn here and you would like for him to be here, so it's going to hurt him a little bit to miss any time, just like it would hurt any of us. There's no number, hey by this date by any given player just because building chemistry is so important. To miss right now is important in my eyes and it only grows as the days go by.
Even without McCoy, Morris said the Bucs have no shortage of players who can line up at the under tackle position. The list includes Brian Price, a second-round pick from UCLA, Roy Miller, a second-year pro from Texas and veteran Ryan Sims.
"We picked up two big guys in those early rounds,'' Morris said. "The other guy (Price) can play under tackle, Roy can play under tackle, Ryan has played under tackle for a little bit...Gerald wasn't expected to play all 70 snaps of every game. Somebody has got to go fill that role and this will be no different.''
Penn, who started 44 games at left tackle, has refused to sign his tender as a restricted free agent and is seeking a long-term deal. The Bucs other RFAs -- linebacker Barrett Ruud, running back Cadillac Williams, receiver Maurice Stovall and tackle Jeremy Trueblook -- all signed their one-year tenders and reported to camp Friday.
"It's all individual. I fully support Donald and hopefully things work out,'' Ruud said. "That's all I know about that part.''