While he's been active in some way every day of training camp – on Monday he could be seen getting in a good run with team trainers, for instance – Donald Penn has yet to practice with the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is not likely to play on Friday when the Buccaneers continue their preseason with a home game against Tennessee.
If the circumstances were a little different, however, Penn and the Buccaneers might consider a slightly different approach to the week. Namely, if the calendar was flipped to September.
"I think he's doing well," said Head Coach Greg Schiano after Monday's practice. "If it was a regular season game week he might have a chance to play on Sunday. So he's getting better."
Indeed, that's the most ambitious statement the team has made regarding Penn since camp began and he was placed on the active/non-football-injury list due to a calf injury. Penn sustained the injury a few days before the start of camp in a workout in California, but the Bucs have never indicated that it's a long-term concern. Penn has reportedly used his time out of practice action well, attacking his overall conditioning with a vengeance.
The Bucs are also getting a long, valuable look at their primary reserve at offensive tackle, Demar Dotson, while Penn recovers. Penn, who has started the Buccaneers' last 76 games at left tackle, was involved in the entire offseason program, learning Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan's schemes, and could almost certainly swing back into action without much of an adjustment period.
Schiano's optimistic but systematic take on Penn's return to action fits in with the approach the team has taken since the start of camp. With the regular season still several weeks away, the team won't deviate from its plan in order to push Penn back into the mix early.
"When he's ready to go we'll get him in," said Schiano. "We won't do it before; circumstance won't ever dictate behavior around here. When he is ready we'll do that."