Frustrated Lane Johnson Shuts Down
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Typically Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson is one of the more engaging members of the Eagles' locker room.
Wednesday was not a typical day at the NovaCare Complex, however, as reporters spotted Johnson.
"I think I’m done talking for the year," the imposing 6-foot-6 veteran snapped. "Maybe for the rest of my career”
Knowing Lane, the "rest of my career" will likely end up being somewhere between 24 hours and a week or so before he reverses course, he's too good of a guy.
The acrimony likely stems from Johnson's quotes after the Eagles' 19-10 win over the Oakland Raiders on Monday night, an ugly affair in which Johnson was called for three penalties, two holding calls, and one false start.
Afterward, he took on the Zebras, the reputation of All-Pro Khalil Mack, and the naysayers who believe that the Eagles are no longer built to win in January without injury superstar quarterback Carson Wentz.
Let's start with the officials and Mack:
“I didn’t think Khalil Mack had a sack, did he?” Johnson said. “He’s supposed to be the best player in the league. Go back, and I am not happy about the holds. I’m sure that ref will be reviewed on his calls. Personally, I don’t think about getting caught. It was ticky-tack bull@#$%, and you can put that in the paper, I don’t really care."
Many did put Johnson's words in the paper and on the web but the striped shirts were hardly the only thing Johnson was upset at after hearing some boos during the course of a win that improved the Eagles to an NFL-best 13-2 and one win away from setting a franchise record.
“It just gets to the point where we are winning the game, but nobody is satisfied anymore,” Johnson explained. “So we won the game. That’s all that matters.”
As the Eagles continue to win in a less than aesthetic fashion without Wentz the whispers outside the NoveCare Complex pick up with many surmising the Eagles are simply not good enough with Nick Foles. And that irks Johnson.
“If we don’t win in a certain fashion, it will be, ‘Well, we’re not good enough,’ and this and that,” Johnson said. “I’ve been hearing it my whole career. So, we’re moving forward. We have to drown out distractions and try to win one game at a time. And that’s really hard.”
So maybe that's what Johnson was doing on Wednesday -- drowning out his distractions.
WEDNESDAY NOVACARE NOTES:
-Doug Pederson continues to manage his team late in the season and held a walkthrough on Wednesday instead of a full-scale practice. Because of that, the injury report was only an estimation and the only player listed as not participating was star defensive end Brandon Graham, who is dealing with an ankle injury suffered against the Raiders and is unlikely to play in Week 17.
Others listed as full participants included DE Derek Barnett (groin), LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep), CB Jalen Mills (ankle), OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee), and OG Stefen Wisniewski (ankle).
-Speaking of Ellerbe, he was essentially named the starter at Mike linebacker moving forward by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
"It's probably more the way we're leaning going forward," Schwartz said when asked by 973espn.com about Ellerbe starting. "He had a lot of things we liked, it just wasn't an overnight thing getting him in there. But he's worked really hard at it, and I think it showed in the game. He's a tough, inside-run defender, used his hands well, was active, stepped up, and made a big tackle for a loss in that game. Just like any other player, he's still got a long way to go, but I like the way he's trending, and we think that he can help us going forward."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen