OAKLAND, Calif. — Back, back, back Donald Penn went.
The Raiders offensive tackle was bull-rushed Friday evening into the backfield, pushed until there was nowhere left to go. His left oblique area clipped the football out of quarterback Derek Carr’s right hand. Sack. Fumble. Carr fell to the ground and recovered.
Penn is starting at an unfamiliar position.
At times, that means ending in one, too.
A third exhibition went about as expected for the Raiders’ offense. Penn made his long-anticipated preseason debut, starting at right tackle after all 170 career starts have come at left. He displayed some growing pains in a 13-6 exhibition win over the Green Bay Packers.
His allowed sack came on Carr’s seventh and final snap. Carr played one drive. He completed 2 of 3 passes for 68 yards, the largest chunk a 49-yard pass that wide receiver Amari Cooper high-pointed while contested on the opening play.
After the third-down sack led to a field goal, the Raiders played their starting offensive line for two more series, allowing the unit to search for a rhythm while Carr’s protection was assured from the sideline. Rookie first-round pick Kolton Miller also had an uneven outing at left tackle.
For Penn, what transpired is fully understandable.
The three-time Pro Bowler suffered a Lisfranc fracture against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 17. It required season-ending foot surgery. The 35-year-old did not return to practice until Aug. 14, participating in two of the Raiders’ 14 practices during training camp in Napa, California. When camp broke, he had yet to work himself into football shape. He still was gaining comfort with his responsibilities and technique on the right day.
On Friday, 10 days after his first practice, he was tossed into the mix.
Raiders coaches anticipated what they received from Penn at this stage. The great unknown — and perhaps the biggest storyline for the offense as the season opener approaches — is whether Penn will be ready for four quarters Sept. 10 against the Los Angeles Rams.
The preseason is designed to be a progress report for player development.
As outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert’s sack demonstrated, Penn is not there yet.