Donald Penn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers face tough task in DeMarcus Ware and Dallas Cowboys

TAMPA — Bucs Pro Bowl LT Donald Penn has a considerable challenge 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 arguably Penn's worst game of the season.

Penn, for instance, missed a block against Jacksonville LB Daryl Smith on Sunday that led to a sack of QB 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 Monday. "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."

Saturday, Penn will face Ware, who is tied for the second in the NFL with Eagles DE Jason Babin with 15 sacks. Ware has just one sack in his past three games, but has had games like 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 (Sunday) with the rusher he had against him and those guys did a nice job of taking advantage and getting our quarterback."

A SECOND CHANCE: Morris insisted we've not seen the last of WR Preston Parker, whose two fumbles on special teams in Jacksonville were critical.

Parker, who has had a flurry of fumbles this season that were recovered by the Bucs, has been the team's primary return man and third-down slot receiver for most of the season.

"I'm not going to give up on anybody," Morris said. "Preston Parker is a dynamic guy and because he fumbled a punt that led to a (touchdown) by the Jacksonville Jaguars, I'm not going to turn my back on him. I gave (DT) Brian Price a second chance and I kicked him out of a game. It's about us growing as a team."

INJURY UPDATE: There is a key injury to monitor. Starting WR Arrelious Benn suffered what Morris described as "a little concussion." He left the game in the first quarter and did not return.

Benn wasn't available for comment and it's unclear what his prospects are for playing against the Cowboys.

Elsewhere, the Bucs lost two players to season-ending injuries Sunday. Reserve DT John McCargo suffered a triceps injury and LB Jacob Cutrera, a special-teams contributor, suffered an unspecified head injury.

To replace McCargo, DT Frank Okam was promoted from the practice squad. The Bucs have not yet filled Cutrera's open roster. The Bucs also will look to fill three practice squad spots this week.

QB Josh Freeman, who entered the game with a right shoulder injury and missed last week's game against Carolina, was sore afterward but the Bucs expect him to start against Dallas.

Freeman's injury was described as a deep tissue bruise and not a structural issue.

Donald Penn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers face tough task in DeMarcus Ware and Dallas Cowboys 12/12/11 [Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2011 9:42pm]

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