Penn calls good friend Williams before signing with the Redskins

July 31, 2019

New offensive lineman for the Washington Redskins, Donald Penn (79) talks with offensive tackle Morgan Moses (76) during NFL football training camp in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Penn was signed Wednesday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Redskins are taking all the precautions necessary, considering it doesn’t look like Trent Williams holdout is going to end anytime soon.

The two newest members of the offensive line were on the field Tuesday: Tackle Donald Penn and guard Hugh Thornton.

Penn, a three time Pro-Bowl left tackle, was switched to right tackle last year in Oakland. His season was a short one, ending in October because of injury. He also suffered a lisfranc injury in December of 2017.

The 13-year vet comes to Washington with a chance for a fresh start.

“The main factor was playing left tackle again,” he said. “I reluctantly played right tackle last year, being a team player, but I’m a left tackle at heart and I played left tackle my whole career. I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to start and play left tackle.”

That’s interesting, because the starting left tackle on the Redskins happens to be Trent Williams,  a very good friend of Penn’s.

“I reached out to Trent before I signed and we had a good conversation,” said Penn. “We talked, and we’re on the same page.”

He kept most of their conversation private and wouldn’t say whether he had a feeling of if or when Trent would be back.

Now, would the Redskins prefer Trent Williams at left tackle? Of course they would. But this provides a little insurance in case Williams isn’t back by the start of the season.

It shouldn’t take long for Penn to get caught up on the field.

“I picked [the offense] up; the terminology, the lingo,” he said. “It was so great, they threw me in today and I was picking it up pretty fast. I was surprised, because when I got in there and met with them this morning, I’m like, ‘Oh, I know this. Oh, I know that. Oh, I know that.'”

Penn saw a lot of in common from the offense he just left behind in Oakland, helmed by Redskins head coach Jay Gruden’s brother, Jon.

They’re very similar, you know they’re brothers, they’re very similar. I just left [Jon] Gruden’s offense and they’ve got a lot of similarities, you know a couple little calls and names. I was really surprised with how fast I was picking up today. I’m like, ‘Oh yeah; I got that, I got that.’”

Penn was thrown right into the fire on Wednesday, participating in 11-on-11 team drills. He even had some reps with the first team.

Practice update

The heat was on again on Wednesday, temperatures in the mid-90s.

There was another fight on Wednesday. The chirping started during the O-Line/D-Line drills and spilled over to the team sessions. Colt McCoy hit the ground during a play, which isn’t something you see often during camp. When that does happen, things escalate.

Caleb Brantley went after Geron Christian on the ground. Jonathan Allen, Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff were in the mix as well.

It didn’t make Jay Gruden very happy. In what probably was a first in the Gruden era, he stopped practice and sent the lineman to the opposite field to run sprints. He also threw a few choice words in there as well.

Wide receiver Josh Doctson has had a good camp to this point. He made a couple one-handed catches on Wednesday during one-on-one drills. He also had a couple nice catches during the team sessions.

Tight end Jordan Reed continues to have maybe the best camp of anyone. It’s no secret that if he stays healthy, he’s a number one option and a big key to the success of this offense. Vernon Davis continues to show his ageless legs. He outran Josh Harvey-Clemons down the sideline for a touchdown.

Follow along as George Wallace covers training camp in this WTOP live blog.

George Wallace

George Wallace is the WTOP sports director. He began at WTOP on Christmas Day of 2000.

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