Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting left tackle Donald Penn to miss several weeks with strained calf

TAMPA — The Bucs suffered their first concerning injury even before taking their first snap.

Earlier this week, starting LT Donald Penn told the team he strained his calf while working out at home in California.

Thursday, coach Greg Schiano said he couldn't be specific about how long Penn will be out but it will be weeks rather than days.

"We'll play it by ear," he said.

Penn has started every game over the past four seasons. His likely backup, Demar Dotson, has not started a game at tackle over his previous three seasons.

Huffing and puffing: Penn probably won't be the only player missing.

Schiano said several players failed the conditioning test Thursday. Players must run 16 110-yard sprints with 45 seconds of rest in between. Schiano declined to name who failed but indicated some won't be allowed to practice until they reach a certain conditioning level.

"We have a minimum standard," Schiano said. "And if it's not met, then there are consequences."

Schiano is expected to conduct a rigorous training camp.

"I think you play your way into football shape once you get to training camp," he said. "But you have to have a base level of cardiovascular conditioning to be able to play your way into football shape."

The conditioning test is a fundamental belief for the first-year coach, who is trying to set a tone this season for how he'll do things in the future.

"There will be a day when we show up here and on the first day and everybody passes," Schiano said. "I wanted it to happen (Thursday). We'll get there. There's no panic. We'll get our guys into shape.

"But that makes training camp harder on those guys. There are additional things they have to do. There are conditioning things they have to do. And training camp's hard enough."

Quotable: So how tough are 16 110-yard runs? See for yourself, CB Ronde Barber said: "I challenge anybody in (the media room) to go out and try it."

UP FOR GRABS: The defense isn't a finished product, especially after Thursday's trade of DT Brian Price.

Coordinator Bill Sheridan said the linebackers lineup isn't a done deal, either.

"I wouldn't say we've got all 11 positions locked down, especially in some of the linebacker positions," he said. "And those players know those positions are up for grabs.

"But I'm excited about it, and it's a real healthy competition. It's not like we're lacking for talent. Those guys have been told that those jobs are open and are being competed for during the preseason."

Though everything is subject to change, the Bucs have, for most of the offseason, used Lavonte David and Quincy Black as outside linebackers with Mason Foster manning the middle.

It's not clear what, if anything could change at linebacker.

Coaches have raved about David, a second-round pick out of Nebraska, while Foster, entering his second season, appears to be the best option in the middle. Black, entering his sixth season, could have competition, however.

MORE SHERIDAN: Sheridan said he sees the Bucs taking advantage of DT Gerald McCoy's athletic traits.

"He's got a ton of talent, and he's got great athletic ability and movement," Sheridan said of McCoy, who has missed 13 games over his two seasons because of biceps injuries.

"I think the defense that, with Greg, we've put together, (McCoy) is going to have a chance to highlight a lot of that. He's going to have a chance to do a lot of moving and stunting, and I think he's going to really have a dynamic year."

“We have a minimum standard. And if it’s not met, then there are consequences,” Greg Schiano says of his conditioning test.


“We have a minimum standard. And if it’s not met, then there are consequences,” Greg Schiano says of his conditioning test.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting left tackle Donald Penn to miss several weeks with strained calf 07/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality


    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  2. Jake Dotchin on rule violation: 'It's hurting me'


    While defenseman Jake Dotchin continues to practice with the Lightning, it's uncertain when - or if - he'll get any preseason action.

    Jake Dotchin violated an unspecified team rule, which is why he hasn't played in the first four games.
  3. PolitiFact: Trump's Mostly False claim that NFL ratings are 'way down'


    The statement

    "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country."

    Quarterback Jameis Winston is sacked during the first half of the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  4. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings


    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Nine Gators, including Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett, face felony fraud accusations


    Nine Florida Gators face at least 62 potential felony charges on accusations of credit card fraud. 

    Star receiver Antonio Callaway is among at least four Florida Gators who face potential felony charges on accusations of fraud.