How did Trevor Penning do in his Saints debut?

Trevor Penning, New Orleans Saints. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Penning, New Orleans Saints. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

How did rookie Trevor Penning fare in his first New Orleans Saints game? Not bad, but not too great, either.

As to be expected, the Saints rolled out mostly backup players in their preseason opener against the Houston Texans. Second-stringer Andy Dalton and third-stringer Ian Book shared snaps at quarterback, working with a young and mostly unproven receiver rotation of Dai’Jean Dixon, Kawaan Baker, Easop Winston Jr., and others.

In the offensive line unit, veteran James Hurst started at left tackle, as he has been for the majority of training camp. All eyes were upon 2022 first-rounder Trevor Penning, though, when he stepped onto the field.

The Northern Iowa product enjoyed a solid first half but struggled a bit in the second half to contain the Texans’ pass-rush. Overall, Penning’s pass-protection could use more finetuning, and it’ll take at least a few more preseason games for Penning to get acclimated in the offensive line.

Saints need to be patient with rookie Trevor Penning’s development in 2022

At one point, the Saints fielded a offensive line consisting of Penning, Ethan Greenidge, Nick Martin, Calvin Throckmorton, and Landon Young. Of all the potential backups, Penning carried the highest expectations heading into the game, but his performance clearly showed he hasn’t yet grown into a starting-caliber role.

NOLA picked Penning as a developmental project back in April and knew there was a chance Penning wouldn’t be game-ready by Week 1 of 2022. The preseason matchup against Houston revealed as much, but those in Saints camp rightfully still are high on Penning and believe he will improve his pass-protection and learn from his mistakes in due time.

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Expect the Saints to keep playing Penning on the left side throughout preseason to make sure he gets the experience he needs in 2022.