Eagles Still in Limbo with Lane
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles have been in lockdown mode when it comes to the status of Lane Johnson in recent weeks but things pivoted a bit Saturday as head coach Doug Pederson expressed frustration over the uncertainty surrounding his high-priced right tackle.
“I'd rather know now than later,” Pederson admitted. “But until then, he's the guy.”
Johnson, of course, is under the shadow of a potential 10-game PED suspension, something the Texas native claims was the result of ingesting a tainted supplement.
Back on Aug. 12, Johnson admitted his A sample contained a banned peptide and expected the B sample confirming the news in about “two weeks.”
We are now over a month from that point and the neither Eagles or Johnson have been informed of any suspension, meaning he will be at his familiar right tackle position on Monday night in Chicago.
"Yeah, you would think you would have heard something by now,” Pederson said. “Again, it's just day-to-day. I just go about our business and get him ready to play.”
As is typical in PED cases, the NFL refused to comment on the potential suspension to 973espn.com, one that seemed to be a fait accompli in both the Eagles’ and Johnson’s minds.
“That's obviously a possibility,” Pederson answered when asked if the appeals process could keep Johnson on the field for the foreseeable future. “But then if it does happen, obviously down the road it just pushes everything back.”
The Eagles’ contingency plan remains the same, kicking Allen Barbre from left guard out to right tackle but the veteran is no longer getting any practice reps there now that the regular season has started.
“We haven't (had Barbre at RT) in the last couple weeks, just because we haven't heard (anything on the status of Johnson),” the coach said. “What we did in training camp and the things he did for those couple of weeks and getting himself ready to play -- especially now, if something were to come down and to move him over there with a week of preparation, he’d be okay.”
As for left guard, rookie Isaac Seumalo got the first opportunity in the preseason but a pec injury slowed his development and Pederson now admits veteran Stefen Wisniewski would be the guy taking over.
“Wis would be the next guy in right now with Isaac's situation,” the coach said. “It's kind of the best of both worlds. Right now, it looks like it would be Wis going into that spot.
“...(Seumalo has) actually been looking really good, he's getting stronger with that injury. Right now, with (Wisniewski) taking all the second team reps, and being the guy that's up right now, it would be (Wisniewski) going into that spot.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen