Life without Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson?
All signs point to the Philadelphia Eagles being without their second year starting tackle Lane Johnson for the first portion of the 2014 season.
Philadelphia Daily News journalist Paul Domowitch reported on Monday that Johnson has tested positive for PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) and will be suspended for the first four games of the season. At the time of writing, the NFL league office has not yet confirmed the suspension, however this is not uncommon in these types of stories.
It is a blow for the Philadelphia Eagles, who managed to maintain a very consistent feel to their starting offensive line last season, following a disastrous 2012 season where the unit was hit by injuries.
As the Eagles come to terms with the likely loss of Johnson, what should Head Coach Chip Kelly and General Manager Howie Roseman do to address the issue.
Firstly, it is likely that the Eagles will carry an extra offensive lineman on the 53 man roster. It is likely that tackles Dennis Kelly and Michael Bamiro now make the roster, leaving Allen Barbre as the main back up with Kelly and Bamiro adding depth. This will have to be at the expense of players at another position and it could well be that a player such as Alejandro Villanueva (defensive end/tight end) may miss out as a result.
Given the importance of players at the line of scrimmage, this is a big blow for the Eagles and one that must be allayed by the addition of a tackle to the roster.
Worryingly, this is the second Eagles player to be suspended for the first 4 games of 2014, with linebacker Jake Knott also out for a failed PED test. Could these issues be down to Chip Kelly’s belief that “big guys beat up little guys” and pressure felt by the players to be bigger and stronger? Hopefully the Eagles will learn from the mistakes of Knott and, seemingly Johnson, by staying away from PEDs!