Former NFL Player, NFL Coach and now Head Coach at Arizona State University Herm Edwards speaks during a coaches conference, “If you play football, you have to have a certain amount of attitude. This game is about this… you test a persons will, you knock a man off his spot. That’s what you do in football.”
In the trenches, at the line of scrimmage, a persons will is tested every down. The 19th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft Trevor Penning knows all to well the battles that take place in this area of the game. Profiled throughout the draft as a player that “Plays with a strong desire to snatch the will of opponents.” In the last three days he has found himself in three different altercations.
Trevor Penning is worth every bit of that first round pick and should have been the first lineman off the board. His persistence to gain mastery of techniques necessary of a starting left tackle and his “play after the whistle” mentality have created disruptions in Saints training camp.
In an interview with Chris Simms, Penning discussed what his areas of improvement were, “I mean, one thing obviously is technique…when you go from college to the Pros, your technique has to be so sound and basically perfect… next-level stuff.” He mentions the same things in a interview with the media after a practice in August. The only way to grow in technique is to practice those techniques and to study film, which he discusses doing.
The issue with Penning’s style of play is that he often plays after the whistle. In his scouting report it states that he “will have to learn to control and harness his on-field fire.” After watching the videos of these altercations numerous times it is of my opinion that the scouting reports were quite accurate. This is a competitive game, but even more this is a business. Playing after the whistle could be detrimental to a players ability to provide for himself and his family.
After the quarrel with Payton Turner, Penning states, “It’s a tough game for tough people you got to be able to take that. I mean there’s no bad blood between us we’re just competitors competing.” A part of toughness is self control. The reactions he is gaining from his teammates, veteran players, based on his style of play is representative of his ability. This is a guy that you want protecting your blind side. It is irresponsible of him to play after the whistle, which is something that needs to be addressed with haste. If he is causing this type of disruption with his teammates, what will the reaction be from the opposition? The kid has already shown the ability to be tough. He needs to learn the concept of control while mastering his technique.