What Are the Eagles Options to Replace Lane Johnson?
The Eagles’ most likely will have a new-look offensive line for Thursday night's game in Pittsburgh.
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson said Saturday that but he is not confident the "B sample" will come back clean, and was practicing with the second team today at Eagles camp.
So how will the Eagles move forward from here?
"I think it would behoove me to have a plan, yeah, for sure," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson admitted. "Again, it just goes back to giving these guys an opportunity to get them on tape, to make the corrections now, so that down the road we're prepared for it."
The first option at this time would be to have Allen Barbre bump over to play right tackle.
"He's (Barbre) played there, number one – more left tackle than right, but he's been there in the past," Pederson said about Barbre. "I love his athleticism. He's a smart guy out there. Some of these next couple of days we've just got to keep getting him some reps and getting him caught up."
Which means Isaac Seumalo and Stefan Wisniewski would be battling it out at the left guard position and Barbre at right tackle - which could be Philadelphia’s offensive line for the next preseason game, if not longer.
Seumalo got some first-team reps today at Eagles camp.
"Yeah, it's just the combination thing we're trying this week," Pederson explained about Seumalo getting first-team reps. "We're just trying to see especially him next to [Jason] Kelce, next to [Jason] Peters; the communication there."
"He's really putting himself in a position to possibly play at that spot, if not rotate into that spot. So, it was good to see him get some reps not only today, but the next couple of days."
The Eagles moved Barbe over to the right side and inserted Seumalo at left guard once with Johnson most likely done for the first 10 games. Their other option would have been to have Dennis Kelly or rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai play right tackle and keep Barbre on the left side.
"Obviously, you got ‘Big V’ [T Halapoulivaati Vaitai] sitting right there," Pederson said. "Of course, [T] Jason Peters [is] on the left side. [G/T] Matt Tobin can play both sides, and he played well the other night [with] limited reps."
"But again, it's a situation where this is the time … Once you get kind of through that first game, you start shuffling your roster a little bit. I want to see different receivers in different spots. And then up front I want to see the combination of guys, particularly Isaac [Seumalo], too, getting a chance to work with that first unit and go against our first D-line [defensive line]. I think [it] is a valuable experience for all those guys."
It’s an interesting decision, one that raises a question as to whether the Eagles may be re-thinking the configuration along an offensive line the entire preseason.
Johnson has been the presumed starter at right tackle since the Eagles extended him in this off-season, with a five-year, $63 million extension through 2021. But with a 10-game suspension looming the Eagles have to get creative.
"it's no different if [QB] Sam [Bradford] went down," said Pederson. "I mean, [QB] Chase [Daniel] and [QB] Carson [Wentz], next guy up, let's go play. That's just the way that this week is going to be for us. It's going to be a time to find out who the combinations are going to be, especially once we get into that third week of training camp where we kind of treat it more like an in-season week."