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Donald Penn: We can be best offensive line in the league

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 22: Donald Penn #72 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the third quarter of the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 22, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 20-12. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders re-signed left tackle Donald Penn this week in a move that has left a lot of people complimenting the quality of the offensive line in Oakland.

Penn joins guard Kelechi Osemele, center Rodney Hudson, guard Gabe Jackson and tackle Austin Howard (or perhaps Menelik Watson) to make up a unit that looks like it can be one of the best in the league. Penn went a little but further when it came to the possibilities for the line, although he knows that being good on paper and being good on the field are two different things.

“The sky’s the limit, but we can’t just talk about it,” Penn said, via “We have to work and do it on the field. We have the guys to be the best offensive line in the league and to lead this team. We want to lead by example, and I’m confident the rest of the guys will follow. … There’s a lot of excitement in the air. We’re going to be a focal point on offense, and we’re going to be leaders of that unit and of the entire team.”

There’s a lot of excitement in the air about the Raiders as a whole heading into the 2016 season and the pieces finally seem to be falling into place in Oakland. The same caveats about having to work and do it on the field apply across the board, of course, but it’s been a while since there was this much reason to feel good about the Raiders in any forum.

Penn will join us on PFT Live after 8 a.m. ET for more discussion about what lies ahead for the Raiders in 2016.

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62 Responses to “Donald Penn: We can be best offensive line in the league”
  1. raidernut says: Mar 18, 2016 7:46 AM

    The rest of the league had better pay attention to the Raiders, we are coming on strong. In Reggie we trust!!!

  2. raiderssf says: Mar 18, 2016 7:52 AM

    ‘Carr Insurance’ is the name of the Raider’s offensive line.

  3. 4grammarpolice says: Mar 18, 2016 7:52 AM

    They are two defensive players away from being a SERIOUS contender.

  4. joetoronto says: Mar 18, 2016 7:58 AM

    The Raiders are back and they’re back for the long haul.

    This team no longer fights to stay below the salary cap, like other teams do now.

    To all those so called Raiders fans that have been slamming RM because you couldn’t see past your nose, you aren’t welcome, go find another team to root for.

  5. j0esixpack says: Mar 18, 2016 8:04 AM

    A great o line can make a mediocre QB look great – and a bad o line can make a great QB look mediocre

    Bodes well for the raiders to see their lineman take extra pride in making themselves a great unit

  6. mazenblue says: Mar 18, 2016 8:06 AM

    Ok, whos gonna run the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball, and stop the ball. Looks like a solid start to a rebuild.

  7. whatjusthapped says: Mar 18, 2016 8:13 AM

    So you’re telling me there is a chance the Raiders could go 8-8 this year?

  8. mlzehnder says: Mar 18, 2016 8:15 AM

    Watch out for the Raiders this year. Think they’re going to be dangerous.

  9. fsstnotch says: Mar 18, 2016 8:17 AM

    Crazy what happens when teams like the Raiders and Jags actually spend cap money rather than save it.

  10. raidernation210 says: Mar 18, 2016 8:18 AM

    Great move resigning him! People wanted to dog Reggie when he was given no salary cap for a couple of years and no first round pick another year. Since then all this guy has done has made great draft choices and signing solid free agents meanwhile staying young and has a lot of cap space. The raider haters are going to be soon shutting theirs mouths!!

  11. araidersfan says: Mar 18, 2016 8:18 AM

    Enthusiasm is fine but I’m a subscriber to the notion of ‘walk the walk before you talk the talk’. What’s important to me is tangible results on the field and I’ll be hoping for that in September.

  12. thetroofishere says: Mar 18, 2016 8:30 AM

    They’ll be competing with the Dallas Cowboys for that title. They made Darren McFadden a 1000 yard back in only 11 starts.

  13. 1heatedtoombrayduh says: Mar 18, 2016 8:32 AM

    we got some monsters up front! our run game should be crazy good! which will open up passing lanes for Carr… weve got great “CARR INSURANCE”

    -credit silver and black pride for the nick name lol-

  14. goraidersgospurs says: Mar 18, 2016 8:40 AM

    Sick of all these raiders will win the AFC west, raiders will make the playoff , KNOCK IT OFF..just let the game play do the talking (See: the San Antonio Spurs)!!!

  15. curtj5 says: Mar 18, 2016 8:43 AM

    With a stout offensive line Carr can be the next Tom Brady

  16. boknowsvt says: Mar 18, 2016 8:44 AM

    We should be fine as long as Penn doesn’t play the way he did the second half of the season.

  17. gysot says: Mar 18, 2016 8:49 AM

    You are still the raiders. You may be better this year, but if you have a top 5 pick every year for a decade and a half you should get a little better.

  18. Tail says: Mar 18, 2016 8:51 AM

    I hope all of your dreams come true big guy. It’s been a long time and Raider Nation is ready. Now lets nail the draft and let the fun begin !

  19. iamtomzo says: Mar 18, 2016 8:54 AM

    As a Raider fan for over 40 years I remember some good days, but for the last 12 years it has been a struggle. Any flashes of hope (Hue/Cable) were illusions built on an unstable foundation. Finally, finally, finally we have a GM that knows how to build a team properly and an owner with the patience to let him do it. The Raiders once won three super bowls in 7 years – time to do it again!

  20. 6ball says: Mar 18, 2016 8:58 AM

    Is there any reason that the Raiders should not be a playoff team, based on their recent personnel acquisitions?

  21. jjackwagon says: Mar 18, 2016 9:03 AM

    Doesn’t every O-lineman on every team say the same thing?
    For not talking about it, you sure are talking about it.

  22. vipod4ever says: Mar 18, 2016 9:04 AM

    Penn is right when he says “We have to work and do it on the field.”

    Last year the Raiders ranked 3rd in pass blocking, 15th in run blocking and 28th in penalties on the oline.

    Carr will see an improved pass protection to an already very good group. While bringing in Osemele should help in run side for 2016. Penalties can improve by simply reducing the dumb false starts where the Raiders had the worst record in 2015 and historically have continued to struggle.

    Having M.Tice is the other component that is a big advantage.

    “Carr Insurance” oline has all the ingredients to be one of the best in 2016.

  23. MasMacho says: Mar 18, 2016 9:13 AM

    But then again this is Oakland… the place where football players go (before they head on to Cleveland) to revel in mediocrity. We’ll see how this turns out in week 12 or so.

  24. jerryyouradisgrace says: Mar 18, 2016 9:16 AM….that would be the cowboys with 4 1st rounders

  25. gmoney52 says: Mar 18, 2016 9:27 AM

    They are calling themselves “Carr Insurance”

  26. psychoraider904 says: Mar 18, 2016 9:27 AM

    It’s been a while since the Raiders have gotten this kind of love from the media. It kind of scares me.

  27. jbaxt says: Mar 18, 2016 9:28 AM

    Lol, the raiders are always the best team… In the offseason.

  28. silvernblacksabbath says: Mar 18, 2016 9:44 AM

    Less talk….just prove it guys!

  29. edavidberg says: Mar 18, 2016 9:45 AM

    Actually Oakland has really turned it around with this GM. He did a great job convincing quality free agents to go to Oakland (which was not easy when he took over) and of course hit home runs on Mack Carr and Cooper, amongst others. Will be fun to see the Raiders in the playoffs again.

  30. fifel1144 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:00 AM

    Hope Carr’s collarbone fairs better then Romos

  31. chaunce922 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:05 AM

    Nicethrow Set Your Hike Carr Insurance

  32. lscottman3 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:05 AM

    don’t get too good, then Godell will find a reason to suspend your players, need to protect his binky, the Broncos.

  33. chaunce922 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:11 AM

    oops progressive is the one with the set your price shtick not geico, my b.

  34. belligerentbuc says: Mar 18, 2016 10:11 AM

    This guy was a stud in Tampa and continues to be one in Oakland!

    Your O line needs a chip on its shoulder or a very confident attitude.

  35. raiderrob21 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:16 AM

    Nothing wrong with what you said Penn. Glad your back, and can’t wait to see you guys in training camp grindin and perppin for an exciting year to come.


  36. raiderlyfe510 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:31 AM

    Names alone doesn’t get the job done. Bring those Axes to Alameda and Napa and start chopping that wood from day 1, and everything’s going to be gravy.

    Like the great Raider Richard Seymour used to say. “There’s a price to pay for greatness, and it always demands an advance payment.” #UnpaidDebt #Hardwork #CommitentToExcellence

  37. junkmagnet2013 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:32 AM

    I like that he, Carr, and the rest of the team are all bought into the whole “gotta prove it on the field” mentality. JDR has these guys thinking right and heading in the right direction. 2016 is gonna be a fun season to be sure!

    I can’t wait to see what Carr does with time to throw; and a second year with Cooper, Crabtree, and Walford.

    Now Reggie, go get a stud MLB and a stud Safety!


  38. zampft says: Mar 18, 2016 10:33 AM

    Remember when he was on the Buccaneers? Lovie the Genius, the gift that keeps on giving…

  39. finchy74 says: Mar 18, 2016 10:36 AM

    I am consistently amazed at how many teams over the years have had promising young quarterbacks and yet do nothing to invest in an offensive line to allow that QB to develop and gain confidence.

    Glad to see the Raiders not making that same mistake.

  40. racerx1225 says: Mar 18, 2016 11:02 AM

    Oakland owns the West now that Manning is gone.

    Count on the Raiders making the playoffs or you are kidding yourself.

  41. thraiderskin says: Mar 18, 2016 11:21 AM

    From the sound of a couple people on here, the NFL started in 2000. You guys know the Raiders were one of the teams that ran this league for more than a decade and they didn’t do it with just one QB or HC, right? Anyway, I’m very optimistic, strong line play will make Carr look even better and should help to continue to develop him.

  42. listenup823 says: Mar 18, 2016 11:25 AM

    The usual bluster from desperate raider fans.. this is the best time of year for them.. their team is not playing any games and all the fans can talk the talk… truth is your franchise hasn’t had a winning season for 12 or 13 years now so don’t get too delusional .. Defense trumps offense every time and Denver’s D will still be on top

  43. ahostiletakeover says: Mar 18, 2016 11:29 AM

    They should be a great o-line for sure. Hopefully they can take advantage and make some major noise while all those young stars like Carr, Cooper, and Mack are still on their rookie deals because these bloated free agency contracts (especially Osemele’s) will eventually create a salary cap window to make it hard to keep all of those young guys together.

  44. milehighcityboss says: Mar 18, 2016 11:30 AM

    Sucks you have to have the Super Bowl champs and that nasty defense in your division…😦

  45. bryonneufeld says: Mar 18, 2016 11:36 AM

    People wanted Reggie gone a couple of years ago but now his plan seems to be working really well.

  46. roddoliver says: Mar 18, 2016 12:13 PM

    It’s March and the Raiders think they will be good. It’s been this way since 2003.

  47. kabasaman says: Mar 18, 2016 12:24 PM

    A old coach once said: I want the five meanest, toughest, nastiest S.O.B.’s on my team to be O-line group. These are the guys who set the tone. With one good punch in the face and the “balls” to back it up. That’s setting the tone…..

  48. captainwhodat says: Mar 18, 2016 12:27 PM

    are the raiders still playing in Oakland? thought they wanted to move…oh, well…

  49. milwaukeeguy says: Mar 18, 2016 12:42 PM

    Penn looks like what a Raider offensive lineman should look like. I say that in a good way; looks like a rough customer.

  50. purpleguy says: Mar 18, 2016 12:44 PM

    Raiders will be good, but people place too much importance on the O-line. Check the 2015 season O-line rankings which actually included the Raiders — the 5 top ranked O-lines didn’t even make the playoffs. Defense is the key.

  51. badmoonrison says: Mar 18, 2016 12:58 PM

    Amari Cooper is going to blow up this year. I can’t wait to watch him burn defenses left and right. Break ankles bro!

  52. getadealdonealready says: Mar 18, 2016 1:26 PM

    curtj5 says:
    Mar 18, 2016 8:43 AM
    With a stout offensive line Carr can be the next Tom Brady

    I think the Raiders have a chance to make the playoffs and be a contender in the near future, but how bout let’s make the playoff’s once before you anoint him the next Tom Brady.

    I agree the line wasn’t great in the past, but DC while putting up big stat lines, still has a tendency to make the game changing turnover, Brady has never done that.

  53. NinersRule says: Mar 18, 2016 1:26 PM

    Give McKenzie credit. After a terrible start he has turned that team around and they will probably win the division this year– their schedule isn’t tough.

  54. noringcircus says: Mar 18, 2016 1:54 PM

    Many football fans probably don’t know that the Raiders were once one of the elites with three SB wins. Part of that was their dominant offensive line. They had HOF players like Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, and Jim Otto and excellent OLs like Henry Lawrence, Dave Dalby, and John Vella.

    I heard Madden once said during an interview that the key to winning games starts in the trenches. Reggie knows this as a former Raiders player and from Ron Wolf and the Packers. The last two years Reggie addressed the offensive line and the Raiders are now tuning a corner. As a Raiders fan, I’m going to enjoy the next couple years after more than a decade of futility.

  55. raider8er says: Mar 18, 2016 1:58 PM

    After over a decade the Raiders are no longer emulating the Cleveland Browns.

    It has been a hard long road but now the Silver & Black are back to respectability. Still need a winning season and a playoff appearance.

    Now that the Broncos have tied the Raiders in Lombardis it makes the coming years more interesting in the AFC West let alone the league.

  56. 1nationraidernation says: Mar 18, 2016 2:01 PM

    “Just Win Baby!”

    Go Raiders, Go Reggie!

  57. skinsdiehard says: Mar 18, 2016 2:07 PM

    Huh? Austin Howard is undrafted and Menelik Watson is a bust. Rodney Hudson was let go by the Chiefs because he’s too small and not stout at point of contact. The best? Huh??

  58. raiderfanwithclass says: Mar 18, 2016 3:56 PM

    joetoronto says:
    Mar 18, 2016 7:58 AM
    The Raiders are back and they’re back for the long haul.

    This team no longer fights to stay below the salary cap, like other teams do now.

    To all those so called Raiders fans that have been slamming RM because you couldn’t see past your nose, you aren’t welcome, go find another team to root for.

    Joetoronto we Raider fans had every right to be mad at RM. He did hire Dennis Allen.

  59. raideralex99 says: Mar 18, 2016 4:43 PM

    I will give Reggie credit when he deserves it.
    Has he won ever won 8 games?
    He has the worst record of any GM … right?

    Cardinals and Raiders basically had the same record … 4-12 & 5-11.

    What did Cardinals do?
    hired Adrians and took Palmer off of Reggie for nothing and has maded the playoffs twice and missed once with a double digit wins in the toughest division in football.

    What did Raiders do?
    hired Dennis Allen and went 4-12 ,4-12, 3-13 and 7-9.
    Reggie did fix a top 10 offence … right? My mistake he dismantled a top 10 offence.
    The defense needs fixing and still does.
    Defense wins championships!

  60. johnnytarr says: Mar 19, 2016 12:02 AM

    Here’s the thing about offensive line play: Average works.

    The Carolina Panthers took advantage of a strong offensive line to make it to the Super Bowl last season. They ranked second on Pro Football Focus’ ranking of all 32 offensive lines.

    The Dallas Cowboys ranked first. The Saints, Falcons, Browns and Raiders came in right behind Carolina. But only four of the top 19 teams in the rankings won a playoff game. The Broncos, who won the Super Bowl, were tied for 20th.

  61. mdintino1420 says: Mar 20, 2016 4:32 PM

    The Raiders better get a new stadium or else they’ll be long gone. This great offensive line will be enjoyed by fans in Las Vegas or San Antonio. With Libby Schaaf unwilling to contribute any tax dollars, I don’t see how a stadium deal will be finalized.

  62. fanboyarmy says: Mar 20, 2016 6:45 PM

    Best offensive line? Why of course you will. Raiders will be the best in everything, yes? Let’s take a look since your last spectacular flame out in the SB: 63-246, 17 Starting Quarterbacks, and 9 Head Coaches. Outstanding work for 13 seasons. Yes, the Raiders are clearly on an uptick. Yum, Yum!

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