The Oakland Raiders possess one of the most dominant offensive lines in the National Football League, which allowed a league low in sacks during the 2016 season. Pillars like Donald Penn, Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele provide a foundation of success, to pair along with an explosive offense.
Penn grew up both a Raiders and Los Angeles Lakers fan, growing up in Inglewood and having a chance to witness the Los Angeles Raiders and the Lakers at the Forum. The 34-year-old sat down for an interview with Ryan Ward of LakersNation.com, our sister site.
During the interview, Penn opened up about various topics, including Carr, the outlook for the Lakers and the approval of the relocation. With childhood ties to the organization, Penn was one of the players that took the relocation to Las Vegas rather seriously:
“I was a little hurt. I grew up a Raider fan. I grew up when they were the L.A. Raiders. I was hurt when they left L.A. to go to Oakland. I’ve been pounding with the Raiders all my life, except the eight years I was in Tampa. Now we have to leave. It’s just sad because we have a great fan base out here. I wish we could’ve got something done out here. I know our owner Mr. Davis is doing the best thing for our team because he loves our team. He loves our fans. He loves the Raiders. From what I’m hearing he tried to do everything he could to keep us in Oakland.
The official decision to relocate took some time for the players and coaching staff to swallow, with the Oakland Coliseum serving as the stomping grounds for Raiders football for quite some time. Now that the initial period has passed, players have had time to digest the scenario and comment in an informed manner.
Penn alluded to the fact that owner Mark Davis relayed that he tried to get the organization to stay, but reached an impasse with the Oakland Coliseum and city of Oakland. With the Las Vegas Stadium expected to be complete by 2020, the Raiders have to remaining years to bring Oakland a championship they rightfully deserve (2019 season is still in the air).
The two-time Pro-Bowler understands that this team goes as far as Carr and Khalil Mack will take them. In a veteran manner, he stated that Carr is the leader of this team and that the entire roster needs to step up and compete at his level. During the interview, Penn stated that Carr has a lot of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in him:
“The thing about Derek Carr is he has the Kobe mentality. He loves to work. He loves what he does. He’s a leader. He loves Kobe. I told him I’m a bigger Kobe fan than him. We argue about that all the time, but he loves Kobe. He works like him. He has that determination. He has that grit.
“He thinks he can make every throw. He does make every throw and he’s a perfectionist. That’s why we’re good. If you’ve ever noticed, when Derek Carr makes a big play he does the Kobe fist-pump every time.”
Penn serves as the veteran presence both on the offensive line and in the locker room, as one of the lone players to compete in a Super Bowl during his 10-year career. The Inglewood native has always asked a lot of himself, even taking blame for the Week 16 injury to his quarterback.
Carr stated early in the 2016 season that he embraces the ‘Mamba Mentality’ of the Lakers star, with Bryant even wishing him a speedy recovery during his offseason surgery.