I know football is a physical sport, but when it’s your first time in the OTAs, and you’re trying to make an impression that will keep you on the NFL roster for years to come, getting into fights with your teammates doesn’t seem like the best course of action.
One fight? Well, maybe it was just a misunderstanding or misunderstanding of the team’s practice culture. Two fights? Now, you are entering a suspicious area. Three fights? Now you have a reputation and you’re calling for your team to be reprimanded. That is exactly what Trevor Benning did in the first round of Saints. Even worse, Benning fought these fights on three consecutive days. It has become a tradition for the saints: stretching, gymnastics exercises, positional exercises, lining up in melee, pinning fights. Saints head coach Dennis Allen likely included him in the team’s training schedule that morning.
Penning is known for being an aggressive guy in the trenches. He has even stated publicly that his favorite part of football is “assaulting the person opposite you”.
Surprisingly, a lot of people came to Penning’s defense in the comment section of the tweet I referenced. Several people were claiming that Penning was just “playing through the whistle” or “playing hard.” Others claimed that Penning didn’t start some of the fights.
In the video, we can see punches being thrown in Penning’s direction before Penning makes any non-football-related move toward the other player. To those defenses, I ask “Would it still be ‘playing hard’ if one of Penning’s teammates ended up getting injured?” and “Clearly, Penning has a reputation so I doubt this is the first kerfuffle he’s found himself in. If the opposing player believes Penning could start fighting them at any moment, I’d throw a punch too to try to end it before it starts.” There’s a difference between playing hard and playing to hurt someone. Saints know the difference well. Penning is not on the line. For years, he was leaning on the wrong side, and would probably get away with it because he was too talented to be reprimanded in college.
Penning had this problem aggressively for a while. Even at Senior Powell, Benning, who played in northern Iowa, was consistently seen with great difficulty after some of his opponents.
You can tell from the reactions of the people Benning was against that the so-called “aggression” by Benning was not normal. You could make the argument that all of these guys were upset because Benning beat them, but with so many guys out there who are upset, you have to look at the common denominator. When many of a guy’s ex-girlfriends talk nonsense, he probably means that he was the problem and vice versa.
These aggressive tendencies are not indicative of greatness in the NFL either. Most often, they bring unwanted attention and / or trouble. Penning will replace Terron Armstead as the Saints begin the right intervention next season. Armstead was, and still is, one of the best left tackles in the game. He earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2018 to 2020. Was Armstead a problem coaching Saints? no. Is David Bakhtiari a problem with the Packers practice? Sure, Trent Williams had that whole attitude with the leaders and for once punches Richard Sherman In his face, but at least these two didn’t have to share the same locker room. Quinton Nelson? Corey Linsley? Creed Humphrey? Joel Bittonio? Ryan Ramsick? Joe Thony? Orlando Brown Jr.? Ronnie Stanley? Have any of them had a history of violence against teammates? No, but they are all considered some of the best offensive linemen in the NFL today. It’s horrible, I know. How did they manage to become great without starting any battles in practice? It’s an unsolvable mystery that science may never be able to answer.
While any NFL team would prefer to have an offensive lineman who needs to tone things down rather than up their physicality, teams also appreciate a man who knows when to stop that aggressiveness and how to be a good teammate who doesn’t. The risk of harming other players. Even when the coach says, “We don’t have time for that [Penning’s actions]“You know something is wrong.
There were many great NFL players who experienced position adjustments early in their NFL career. Vernon Davis is the first person that comes to mind. I need Mike Singletary to put in it Before he’s ready to blast into the stratosphere of tight-knit NFL elites. There are other examples too, but more often than not, when said player’s position is not checked, he can never fully commit to his team and becomes malicious rather than an element. So, yes, the Saints should worry about Benning’s antics. They spent time picking him in the first round and expect him to be a vital part of the team’s offensive line going forward. It is better if his head is straight.