Lane Johnson's status for Eagles' opener remains uncertain originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
When is “day-to-day” really not day-to-day anymore?
When it’s been 17 days.
Lane Johnson, the Eagles’ all-pro right tackle, hasn’t practiced since Aug. 23, and head coach Doug Pederson — while saying Johnson is doing "well" — was unable to say Wednesday morning whether Johnson will be able to play in Washington in the season opener Sunday.
Johnson suffered an undisclosed “lower-body” injury on the sixth day of training practice, and the Eagles have listed him as day-to-day ever since.
Pederson said on Aug. 29 he wasn’t concerned with Johnson missing the opener, but on Wednesday he said Johnson will be limited later in the day to individual drills at the first practice of the week and his status for Sunday is unknown.
“Lane’s going to work today individually out at practice,” Pederson said. “He’s a guy that’s day-to-day, and we’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week. But he’s doing well.”
Johnson, who was activated off the COVID list two days before training camp began, has started six of the last seven season openers. He was serving a four-game suspension to open the 2014 season.
The Eagles have already been decimated along the offensive line, with left tackle Andre Dillard out for the year and right guard Brandon Brooks out indefinitely.
Even with Johnson in the lineup, the Eagles would likely have to rely on Matt Pryor making his first regular-season start at right guard.
If Johnson is unable to play, things would get even dicier considering the Eagles’ lack of veteran depth on the o-line.
Third-year pro Jordan Mailata or rookie 4th-round pick Jack Driscoll could start at right tackle, although Mailata has never played in a regular-season game and Driscoll hasn’t played in any professional game.
The Eagles could swing Pryor out to right tackle — where he’s never played — and use Nate Herbig at right guard. Herbig has three career regular-season snaps.
Veteran Cordy Glenn, who has made 96 NFL starts, mainly at left tackle, was in for a workout over the weekend, but at this point it’s hard to imagine him being able to contribute Sunday if needed even if the Eagles do sign him.
The Eagles are only carrying eight offensive linemen on the 53-man roster — the five projected starters (including Johnson) plus Driscoll, Herbig and Mailata.
They do have the flexibility to bring one or two linemen up from the practice squad for game-day or add them to the roster if needed. There are three currently on the 16-member practice squad — rookie 6th-round tackle Prince Tega Wanogho, 1st-year guard Sua Opeta and undrafted rookie center Luke Juriga.
“We’ve got to prepare everybody if Lane’s not available, and we’ve got to get our young guys ready to go and this is why (when) we select offensive linemen, we look for guys who can play both left and right side, can play inside and outside,” Pederson said. “We have some young players there that we’ll have ready. So we’ll see where Lane’s at today and hopefully he’ll progress in the right direction.”