When 36-year-old left tackle signed Donald Penn signed with the Redskins midway through training camp, it's likely the thought of a 1-9 start to the 2019 season never crossed his mind.
But after the Redskins embarrassing 34-17 Week 11 loss to the Jets, that's the reality. The Burgundy and Gold have played three different quarterbacks, and none have been very effective. They rank in the bottom three in the NFL in points-per-drive, plays-per-drive, and drives in which they are forced to go three-and-out.
So late in the third quarter of Sunday's loss, after QB Dwayne Haskins and the offense were unable to muster anything on offense once again, the rookie signal-caller was captured on video asking his offensive linemen: "What do I have to do to help you?"
The moment went viral on social media, as many people had differing opinions on the exchange. But Penn, like his fellow offensive tackle Morgan Moses, was encouraged, rather than displeased, about Haskins' pep talk.
"His heart is into it. He had a nice little speech at the end," Penn said on Haskins. "We have to make it easier on him. It's not flowing right now. We have to figure out how to get stuff flowing."
Although it was just Haskins' second start, Penn was encouraged by the leadership the rookie showed.
"He's a young guy trying to be a leader," Penn said. "He's trying to step in and help out as much as possible."
With the Redskins down 13-0 early in the second quarter, Haskins provided the offense with a much-needed spark. The rookie evaded pressure, stepped up in the pocket and unleashed a 67-yard pass to fellow rookie Terry McLaurin, the team's first chunk play in weeks. Unfortunately, the play was called back due to a holding penalty on guard Brandon Scherff.
Penn, who was in shock about the call, sprinted up the field, voicing his opinion on the matter to the officials. The referee crew believed Penn went a step too far, as they threw another flag, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the 14-year-veteran. The two penalties put the Redskins in an unfavorable down and distance, which led to another Washington punt.
After the game, Penn was upset with himself for letting his emotions get the best of him in the heat of the moment.
"For me being a 14-year year guy and a leader, I got to keep my cool. The young guys look at me," Penn said. "I'm going to go apologize to everybody. I'm the oldest dude on the team. If they see me react like that, they are going to react like that. I have to be a better guy, but after so many weeks, it's just like, [sighs], it starts eating at you. I kind of lost it."
Penn's reaction, for the most part, was understandable. The Redskins struggles on offense have been visible all season long, and when the team finally thought to have a big play, one that could have given them a spark and changed the outcome of the game, it was called back due to penalty.
For Penn, calls like these have gone against the Burgundy and Gold all season.
"I played for the Raiders for five years, I thought we had a target on our back then," Penn said. "But this team is way different. We can't get away with anything. It's crazy."
With Washington firmly out of the playoff hunt, the rest of the season should be about the development of their young talent -- Haskins, McLaurin, and running back Derrius Guice.
Although the team has not done much winning on the field, Penn is encouraged by Haskins' work ethic and drive to be better.
"He's done a great job for what position he's being put in. My hats off to him. He's working hard, and you can tell," Penn said. "He's trying to win. Everybody wants to win."
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