Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn continues to hold out for a new deal. The Raiders would prefer their starting left tackle be in camp, but offensive line coach Mike Tice decided to spin positive, pointing out Penn's absence gives Oakland a chance to build depth and cross-train along the line.
"Well, it's always good when you develop in depth," Tice said Wednesday, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. "We had a number of days when we were down to 11 and 10 players."
Added Tice: "When you have that, you get the ability ... the opportunity to develop your depth. In the long run, it's actually a good thing."
Penn has been working out with Hall of Famers during his holdout, NFL Network's Steve Wyche reported a dozen days ago.
The Raiders have also seen rookie tackle David Sharpe miss a few days, and rookie tackle Jaylan Ware suffer a concussion. Left guard Kelechi Osemele also skipped some practices to get a veteran's day rest.
Starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse is spending practice periods at left tackle, with Vadal Alexander moving into the first-team unit on the right side. All the moving parts could help buoy Oakland's offense if injuries strike during the season.
As for when Penn returns, Tice said he can't sit around and wait for that to happen.
"Where I'm at right now is I have to get us ready to go out and beat Tennessee," Tice said of the Raiders' season opener on Sept. 10 in Nashville. "So right now, I have Marshall on the left and I have Vadal on the right and I have David doing a little bit more each day, playing both sides. That's what we have.
"I can't sit here and wonder when D.P. is going to come back. Right now I've moved forward with Marshall is on the left and Vadal is on the right and David is swinging. That's reality right now. I can't think that there's going to be something else there until it's there."
Penn's holdout is one of the training camp storylines flying under the radar. The Raiders' offensive line is a strength of the team. But if Penn's holdout lingers into the regular season, it could throw the whole Oakland offense out of whack.