Last season wasn’t much fun for a lot of Raiders.
After going 12-4 in 2016, Oakland fell to 6-10, missed the playoffs and looked like a far different team than the one that appeared to be on the verge of contending for a Super Bowl just a year earlier.
Now – with a new head coach, staff and the addition of some vital free agents – some of the veteran Raiders say they are determined to get back on track in 2018.
Left tackle Donald Penn is among that group.
“Everybody, this whole team, we have big chips on our shoulders,” Penn told Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com this week. “So when guys have chips on their shoulders, they’re going to come out fighting, so I’m excited.”
After an outstanding season in 2016, Penn took a step back in 2017, following a holdout. He didn’t play up to his past standards, and the offensive line as a whole – which had been dominant the year before – wasn’t as strong.
Penn missed the last two games of this past season with a foot injury, and says he’s going to be fine to participate in the team’s offseason program that begins in late April. He says he and his offensive-line mates are eager to turn things around under new head coach Jon Gruden and offensive line coach Tom Cable.
“Everything is coming along,” Penn said. “I’m doing everything, guys. I’m putting in extra work. I’m doing everything they’re telling me, so I’m getting ready. I can’t wait to get this thing started next year, and I have to come back with a vengeance.”
Earlier this offseason, Penn guaranteed the Raiders will go to the playoffs under Gruden, whom he knew when both were with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Penn says Gruden is a “hard-nosed, head-on coach” who will get the best out of this team.
“One of the first things I told coach Gruden when I talked to him when he first got the job is, we’re pissed,” Penn said. “We’ve got a bad (taste) in our mouth. Last year it was not anything we wanted, so he’s coming into a room full of hungry dogs that are ready to work. And they want to get this thing fixed. Everybody wants to get these things fixed.”