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Raiders preparing for life without Donald Penn

Donald Penn wasn’t just one of the best left tackles in the NFL last season, he was one of the best offensive lineman in the league.

Now he wants to be paid like it, and as a result is holding out during the final year of his contract which is scheduled to pay him as much as $6.85 million this season. That would make Penn the 39th highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL this season.

Without their left tackle in training camp, the Raiders are preparing to start the season without him.

“I have to get us ready to go out and beat Tennessee,” offensive line coach Mike Tice said. “Right now I have Marshall (Newhouse) on the left and Vadal (Alexander) on the right and I have David (Sharpe) doing a little bit more each day playing both sides. And that’s what we have. I can’t sit here and wonder when DP is going to come back.”

Newhouse came over this offseason after spending the last two seasons with the Giants. He was expected to play right tackle, but with Penn out, the Raiders have elected to use Newhouse to cover up Derek Carr’s blindside and have him play left tackle.

That has pushed Vadal Alexander into the right tackle spot with David Sharpe prepping to be the backup at either left or right tackle position.

Penn’s holdout has turned one of the Raiders biggest strength into a question mark. Last season the Raiders allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL; Donald Penn surrendered just one.

He’s an important piece to an offense that should be among the best in the NFL. But with a puzzle on the offensive line, stars like Carr, Amari Cooper and Marshawn Lynch could be stifled.

The Raiders don’t appear to be in a hurry to get Penn into training camp. He’s been gone since the Raiders reported for training camp 20 days ago. And general manager Reggie McKenzie says he’s waiting for Penn to show up.

“I want him in camp. He has a deal. I want him in camp,” McKenzie said at the start of training camp. “We don’t talk contracts unless a guy is here, so we’ll wait.”

The Raiders may be willing to wait, but it could cost them on the field soon. The Raiders second preseason game is this Saturday. The first regular season game is September 10, less than a month away.

Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.