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Penn: Jon Gruden to Raiders like Steve Kerr to Warriors

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  • By Edward Lewis NFL.com
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Donald Penn called his old Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who will be introduced as his new head coach in Oakland on Tuesday, and had a message for him.

"I told him, I said, 'Coach, you're about to walk into a room full of hungry dogs that are hungry, mad and upset,'" said Penn, who played on Gruden's offensive line in Tampa from 2006 to 2008. "We're mad. We ain't happy with the way we left last season. I've talked to the guys. I talked to Derek [Carr], I've talked to [Khalil] Mack. We're not happy. We had our bar set high and we failed last year. So we know what we did and we have that mentality and we have that hungriness coming in this offseason to get it going and get back on track and coach Gruden is going to walk in to a bunch of hungry dogs."

For Penn, who's started every game except two for the Raiders the past four seasons, the situation Gruden is about to step into is very similar to the one the Bay Area's NBA team faced in 2014.

The Golden State Warriors had the pieces -- Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green -- but couldn't get it done in the playoffs with Mark Jackson running the show. When Steve Kerr came on board, it all clicked.

Penn sees things going the same way with Gruden stepping in to Oakland's head coaching job this week.

"I'm looking at it like, I joke with people, I look at it like Steve Kerr when he joined the Warriors," Penn said on NFL Total Access on Monday. "Coach Gruden is coming into a great situation where he has a lot of pieces in place already. He's not going to have to do too many things but tweak a couple of things here. Me knowing coach Gruden, his mentality, and his excitement and energy he's going to bring, I don't think there's any coach in the NFL that brings that kind of excitement. You guys hear him on Monday night, you see how excited he is for football. So bringing that in, it's going to trickle down through the building."

Penn is so sure that Gruden is going to turn around an Oakland squad that finished with a disappointing 6-10 record this season that he guaranteed he'd be preparing for a Divisional Round playoff game at this time next year.

"Yeah, I'm going to be in the playoffs," he said, "definitely."

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