Five Redskins to watch in NFL Week 1 season opener vs. Eagles
2. LT Donald Penn
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Trent Williams won’t be returning to the team for Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season. There has recently been some optimism that he could return to the squad “sooner rather than later”, but it remains to be seen when “sooner” actually is.
Hopefully, the former Oklahoma Sooner’s “sooner” is sooner than we’re anticipating. But at this point in time, anything is possible and much like the Le’Veon Bell holdout, this could drag on for quite a bit.
That will make the performance of Donald Penn critical. The Redskins added the 36-year-old tackle shortly into training camp amid issues at the position. He immediately was in the running to start in place of Williams and eventually won the job over the disappointing Geron Christian.
More from Riggo's Rag
- What will Emmanuel Forbes bring to the Washington Commanders?
- Highlighting the best Commanders 2023 NFL Draft betting props
- 3 late Commanders rumors drawing buzz ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft
- 4 bold predictions for the Commanders 2023 NFL Draft
- Commanders News: Chase Young trade, draft day, CB riser and Sam Howell
Penn, 36, was still shaking off the rust during the preseason. He didn’t play much last year after suffering an injury and hadn’t been with a team until the Redskins elected to sign him. That caused him to have some up-and-down moments in the preseason, but his experience should give the team some confidence that he will be solid during the season.
Obviously, it won’t be the same level as Williams. But at least he’ll have a chance to function.
Penn’s ability to block could be the difference between making the left side of the line decent or a complete liability. Left guard Ereck Flowers had some nice moments as a run blocker in the preseason, but he was woeful in pass protection. If Penn can’t help make up for that, the Eagles will get a lot of pressure on Case Keenum. And that could make life difficult, even for a seasoned, veteran quarterback like Keenum.
Conversely, if Penn can block and give Keenum time to make throws, the offense could be a bit better than expected. That makes him one of the key players for this contest and one who the fans will want to watch closely during the 2019 opener.