Donald Penn's backup: 'I'm not' a starting left tackle

There is no question those in charge of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers knows what Demar Dotson knows.

That is why there is little doubt that Donald Penn will be in place as the starting left tackle before the season starts. The Bucs don’t have any other choice and they don’t have another player on the roster with an NFL start at left tackle, according to Anwar Richardson of the Tampa Tribune.

Penn has yet to sign his tender as a restricted free agent. He was tendered at $3.168 million and he’s missed the entire voluntary offseason program and he’s not at minicamp, which began today. General manager Mark Dominik threatened to fine Penn for skipping minicamp even though he knew he couldn’t take punitive action against a player not under contract. But Penn and Dominik have begun to work out some differences, something that at least from afar looks like a step in the right direction.

The sooner the better as far as Dotson is concerned. He’s the man who lined up at left tackle for the Bucs with the first team this morning in minicamp.

“I'm not saying I'm a good left tackle. I don't even know if I'm a starting left tackle or not at this moment. If you ask me, I'm not," Dotson told Richardson. "I'm working at it, taking these reps while Penn is away and I look forward to Penn getting here soon and protecting Josh's blindside."

A former basketball player at Southern Miss, Dotson played one season at defensive tackle and served as a backup right tackle last season. The 6-9, 315-pounder doesn’t have any tangible NFL experience to lean on if called upon to protect quarterback Josh Freeman. That means he won’t be called upon to protect Freeman, not when they’re keeping score for real, anyway.

“At McDonald's, if all you can do is work the grill, if you got somebody who can work the grill and the tables, you lose your job," Dotson said. "That's all I'm trying to do, come out here and be more flexible in whatever they ask me to do, whether it's right tackle, left tackle, backup, starting, tight end, whatever.”

How about keep the spot warm for Penn for the time being? The Bucs are wise enough to not ask him to do more than that.

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