Lane Johnson Ducks Media as Possible Replacements Struggle

Lane Johnson – in a pristine white jersey after playing just three snaps – walked through the bowels of Lincoln Financial Field, made a right turn and became the first player inside the team’s locker room after the preseason opener.
“Hey guys,” he said to a few reporters outside the door just before he walked in.
That was his only comment of the night. About 15 minutes later, when media members were granted locker room access, Johnson was nowhere to be found. In his locker, not a trace.
The Eagles’ right tackle and left tackle of the future is reportedly facing a 10-game PED ban. If he does get suspended – and many think it’s just a matter of time – the Eagles will lose their most consistent, and perhaps best, offensive lineman.
Johnson hasn’t yet been suspended, as he reportedly awaits the results of a B sample after failing the A. He started Thursday night’s 17-9 win over the Buccaneers (see Instant Replay), but he and the rest of the starting O-line played just three downs.
“Right now, he’s out there with us,” center Jason Kelce said. “And that’s all I really want to comment on.”
“I don’t even know what the situation is with Lane, so I’m not going to comment on that,” Matt Tobin said.
“I can’t really comment on anybody else’s situation,” Andrew Gardner said.
See a trend?
Still, is it tough not knowing what’s going to happen?
“I don’t know,” Kelce replied as he walked toward the door to exit. “I don’t really try to worry about it. I just try to go out there and focus on getting better. I try to ignore that.”
Absolutely. Kelce can’t worry about the impending suspension that reportedly looms over Johnson’s head, but someone better worry. One of those people should probably be head coach Doug Pederson.
After all, the offensive line, which was once thought to potentially be a strength of the team, might lose Johnson. It has an injured and aging Jason Peters. And Brandon Brooks, although he said it was very minor after the game, left Thursday night with a biceps injury.
Pederson said he hasn’t spoken to Johnson since the news broke (see story), but has faith in the backup or backups that would need to fill in.
"We've got the bodies. It's not that,” Pederson said when asked if the team will try to acquire someone else. “We've got the bodies. We've got the guys that can definitely fill that role."
Specifically, Pederson said Tobin has been doing a nice job filling in for Peters. Then, he mentioned Dennis Kelly, rookie Halapoulavaati Vaitai and Allen Barbre as depth pieces at tackle.
But after watching Thursday night’s game, it’s probably safe to say not many fans will share Pederson’s rosy outlook on the replacements.
The second-team offensive line of Gardner, Isaac Seumalo, Josh Andrews, Stefen Wisniewski and Kelly had a rough go.
Sure, the second-team offense scored a touchdown on its second possession, but it came after a fumble recovery set them up on the Tampa Bay 9-yard line. After that, it was all downhill. The O-line allowed Chase Daniel to be sacked four times. They also had just four first-downs and just 78 total yards in eight drives.
“I think it’s just really us sticking to our fundamentals, going back to doing what we can do,” Kelly said. “I don’t know if we just got caught up with the lights or the first-game jitters. But once we watch the film, we’ll have a better idea. I think it’s really just falling back to doing the proper techniques.”
On the second team, Seumalo got his first NFL action, while Gardner played his first game since going down with a Lisfranc injury early last year. The veteran tackle admitted he felt some rust.
“I think I’m a better player than I showed tonight,” Gardner said.
Gardner is an option to replace Johnson during the looming suspension. So is Kelly. So is Tobin. It might make sense to get the replacement – whoever he is – some reps with the first team before game action, but the players said there haven’t been any talks about it yet. Two years ago when he was suspended, Johnson practiced with the second team to allow the new starting five to work together.
For now, no one really knows what’s going on. Johnson is with the team, but no one really knows for how long, which has left a lot of uncertainty. Pederson said he and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland would figure out who will replace Johnson if needed.
“We're still in training camp mode,” Pederson said, “and we've got time to figure this out."
But will they have faith in the solution?

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us