Demar Dotson, time to step up to the plate, or in this case, the left tackle position. By now everyone knows about left tackle Donald Penn’s ongoing hold out. The 27 year old, 305 lb. tackle out of Utah State is holding out for a long term contract, skipping the mandatory camps, and leaving Josh Freeman looking over his shoulder. Last week, Penn was offered a $3 million offer to sign a one year tender, but he turned it down and has decided to hold out for the long haul, saying he will not show up to mandatory camps in the fall without a contract. Penn has started 44 straight games, is a solid left tackle, and is key to the development of Josh Freeman and Raheem Morris’s job.
With Penn sitting out and not talking to the media, the depth chart is shallow behind him, leaving Demar Dotson to take the first team snaps and confidence is not high. The converted basketball player and defensive tackle from Southern Mississippi is not sure he has skills necessary to start at left tackle when the season starts but states “I’m going to be the best player I can be out there.” Dotson was called for offensive holding during the two minute offense during Monday’s practice, not the best sign, but it is hard to evaluate his talent in spring practice, there is only limited contact.
The holdout of Penn is hurting the offense and everything Coach Morris and staff are trying to accomplish with a young team. Freeman needs a solid tackle to protect his blind side, the running backs need a leader on the line to create holes, and everyone is counting on Penn to be there, so far, he is disappointing everyone. Demar Dotson could possibly start, but will not last long in the tough NFC South and will expose Freeman to constant pain. The Glazers just need to open up their wallets and sign a check to sign the starting left tackle, one of the most important positions on the team, to a long term deal. Yet, while it is easy to point the finger at the Glazers, someone should talk to Donald Penn. He is holding up an entire team and should get over his pride (getting paid $3 million dollars isn’t so bad, especially when a long term deal will come) and show up to the mandatory camps before the offense begins to slide (can’t get much worse than the last few years). Time to get to work Penn!
(picture credits go to TBO.com)