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Matchup of the week: Abraham vs. Penn

9/9/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

As we pointed out earlier today, the Falcons moved defensive end John Abraham all over the field against the Lions. They may just want to keep him at right end against the Bucs on Sunday.

That's because Donald Penn is Tampa Bay's left tackle and the possible weak link in the offensive line. Penn got thrust into a starting role last year when Luke Petitgout got hurt. Penn did a respectable job under the circumstances, but the Bucs thought they would upgrade this spot.

It hasn't worked out that way. Although Tampa Bay thought Petitgout would return and claim the starting job, the Bucs cut him when he was slow in recovering from an injury (and, perhaps, because he was facing a suspension). Nobody else was able to step up in training camp, so Penn got the job almost by default.

The Bucs still keep looking for tackles (Willie Anderson and Fred Miller both visited), but haven't been able to land anyone to challenge Penn. They'll have to give Penn some blocking help Sunday or else Abraham and the Falcons really will be able to exploit this matchup.