Oakland Raiders: Things Worth Keeping An Eye On Against Dallas

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 9: Running back DeMarco Murray
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 9: Running back DeMarco Murray /
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Oakland Raiders
SEATTLE, WA – NOVEMBER 02: Quarterback Derek Carr /

Donald Penn

Better late than never, right? It took 26 days and all of training camp, but big Donald Penn finally made it back to the practice field with his teammates.

And you better believe Derek Carr is breathing a big sigh of relief right about now.

That’s not to say that Marshall Newhouse didn’t do a decent,even admirable, job of filling in, but let’s not kid ourselves – Newhouse is not Penn.

Oakland’s offensive line was one of its biggest strengths last season. It was arguably, one of the top two or three lines in the league. That offensive line paved the way for an electric passing attack and one of the league’s best running attacks.

The Raiders had the league’s sixth-best offense last year on the back of that offensive line – and Donald Penn was a huge part of that.

Which was why most of the Raider Nation has been holding their breath, waiting for the big man’s return. He still doesn’t have a new deal – although he should – but he showed up and is ready to get going.

There’s no telling yet, just how much he’ll play. Del Rio says that he’ll ease Penn back into action starting with Dallas.

"“We’re not going to play him long. But we’ll probably get him a few reps in the game.”"

Although any leverage Penn may have believed he had in trying to force GM Reggie McKenzie‘s hand in contract talks more or less evaporated with the competent play of Newhouse and Vadal Alexander, Penn is still hoping to get a little something more for his efforts. And he should.

But for now, Penn is back in the fold – which has Carr and the Raider Nation breathing a bit easier.