Broncos-Eagles: Eagles Prepare for Game-Wrecking Miller
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — If you go back to the spring you were first introduced to Lane Johnson's respect for the skills of Broncos superstar edge rusher Von Miller.
After a particularly impressive day by Derek Barnett, Johnson began to wax poetic about the rookie first-round pick's "bend around the edge." When asked to explain what he meant by one reporter, Johnson answered: "watch Von Miller."
With Miller on the schedule, this week and the Denver Broncos set to invade Lincoln Financial Field, it's strength versus strength. Perhaps the best right tackle in the game matched up against the Super Bowl 50 MVP.
"Von Miller’s the best guy I’ve ever seen on tape as far as quick twists getting off the ball," Johnson admitted. "There’s nobody I can compare to him so I’ve got my work cut out for me. He gets off the snap count, sometimes he’ll get offsides a little bit, so we’ll try and use that to our advantage. He’s a special player."
Turns out those feelings aren't mutually exclusive and flow in both directions.
"Lane Johnson [is] probably the best right tackle in the league," Miller said when discussing Sunday's game with Denver-area reporters. "If not the best, he’s tied for the best. He’s definitely up there. I’m sure you guys can make arguments about this guy and that guy, but Lane Johnson is the premier right tackle in the National Football League."
One of the reasons the Eagles decided to keep Johnson at right tackle after Jason Peters' season-ending ACL tear was the fact that rushers like Miller, DeMarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack remain on Philadelphia's schedule and all predominantly line up on the left side of the defensive formation, opposite Johnson.
That doesn't mean Broncos coach Vance Joseph can't realize a potential mismatch when he sees it.
"Part of what we do defensively every week is moving Von around to try to generate an advantage," he explained.
Miller also took note of Halapoulivaati Vaitai's insertion into the starting lineup.
"Jason Peters is out right now. If they would have had him, it would have been double trouble," Miler explained. "He’s not playing. They still have a solid offensive line with Carson [Wentz] out in the backfield extending and shortening plays. They’re pretty solid on offense.”
No matter the opponent or game plan, however, as one of the most dynamic defenders in football Miller is always used to garnering extra attention. Sunday at the Linc will be more of the same.
"You just have to take every game as it is," Millex explained. "You have to take it one play at a time and try to make the most out of every play.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen