Left tackle Donald Penn optimistic about Raiders in 2015
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Donald Penn isn't getting much sleep at home these days, not with a 2-month-old daughter to take care of.
The Oakland Raiders' veteran left tackle has been trying to catch up at nights following the team's offseason workouts. Even then, there hasn't been much time to rest.
With a new offensive system to learn and a new line coach to work with - not to mention a third head coach in two years - Penn has plenty to deal with.
''During the week I am (sleeping), when I'm out here,'' Penn said Tuesday. ''When I get home on the weekends, I try to pick up the slack a little bit here and there. It's all fun.''
Not that the offseason hasn't been eventful enough for the 32-year-old Penn.
In February, he and his wife were at their Southern California home with their two children when an intruder jumped a security fence and smashed through the front door. Penn got into a physical confrontation with the man and eventually subdued him, pinning him down until police arrived.
Even though no one in his family was hurt, the incident clearly left Penn shaken nearly four months after it happened.
''I don't even want to talk about that,'' Penn said. ''We got through that. I don't wish that on anybody and I hope nothing like that ever happens again.''
The same could be said about Penn's first year in Oakland.
While the 6-foot-4, 330-pounder had a solid season - he was the ranked seventh overall among all tackles in the NFL and fifth in pass blocking according to ProFootballFocus.com - the Raiders finished 3-13 and out of the playoffs for a 12th consecutive year.
Interim coach Tony Sparano, whom Penn vocally supported to keep the job, was not brought back. Instead, owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie revamped the coaching staff and hired Jack Del Rio, who in turn hired veteran offensive line coach Mike Tice.
It didn't take long for Tice, a former NFL player and head coach, to win Penn over.
''He makes sure we work when it's time to work,'' Penn said. ''The best part is he really keeps the room loose and keeps it going. Each offensive line coach is different. Coach Tice has a different technique than coach Sparano did. I think we're picking it up fast.''
The Raiders have been trying to adjust to the new schemes of offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, despite starting quarterback Derek Carr being unable to fully participate in the OTAs.
Carr injured his ring finger during the offseason and is being held out of all passing drills. The second-year quarterback has attended the workouts and even did some light throwing Tuesday but has yet to be cleared, leaving Christian Ponder to handle the first-team reps.
Del Rio didn't sound too concerned about Carr's situation and neither was Penn.
''Derek knows this offense almost as good as the offensive coordinator,'' Penn said. ''I have no worries in Derek. Derek still gets here, the first person in the morning. He needs to do what he's doing, take his time. He'll be ready when he's ready and I tell him that all the time, there's no rush.''
There is, however, an urgency to get Oakland's offensive line in order after an offseason of change.
The Raiders signed free agent center Rodney Hudson away from the Kansas City Chiefs, freeing up last year's starter, Stefen Wisniewski, to sign with Jacksonville. Additionally, Austin Howard is moving from right guard to right tackle while third-round draft pick Jon Feliciano and veteran Khalif Barnes will compete for the vacant right guard job.
''We feel good about the O-line group, about the work they're putting in,'' Del Rio said. ''That left side with he and Gabe (Jackson) and then Rodney, that left side's very strong. I think the right side's going to be pretty good, too. I think he's done a nice job so far.''
NOTES: Defensive tackle Dan Williams left practice early with a team trainer, though Del Rio didn't seem concerned. Williams has been rehabbing from a minor injury and the team has been easing him back. ... Safety Charles Woodson made a nice play to intercept a deep pass from Ponder that was overthrown. ... LB Sio Moore (hip surgery) watched practice from the sidelines.
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