Philadelphia Eagles debate table: Lane Johnson will earn Pro Bowl nod in 2021

Lane Johnson #65 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Lane Johnson #65 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

You heard it yourself. Lane Johnson is back baby! The Philadelphia Eagles starting right tackle took a few moments to take some time out from OTAs to speak with some of the Philly media on May 20th, and though he’s missed 14 games over the course of the past two seasons (that includes a playoff game), excitement is in the air over his impending return.

How could there not be? This is the third coaching regime that he’s played for since being taken fouth-overall during the 2013 NFL Draft, but even with that being said, despite who comes or goes, this is still someone that can be considered as one of the greatest offensive linemen in the franchise’s history.

Heck, you can just look at the numbers for yourself. This team wins a lot more when he plays, and they tend to lose just as often when he doesn’t.

Here’s a walk down memory lane for Philadelphia Eagles fans.

If you’ve been paying attention, which normally isn’t an issue for a Philadelphia Eagles fan, Johnson was a part of a unit that won the Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year Award on the night before Super Bowl LII. Johnson won a First-team All-Pro nod, a Pro Football Writers of America All-NFC Team nod, and a spot on the Pro Bowl roster for his work in 2017 as well.

He’s also earned two more Pro Bowl nods, in 2018 and in 2019. Still, seemingly, even though he’s battled through it more often than not, it feels like he’s been hurt in some form or fashion for the better part of the last three seasons.

There was that ankle issue in the game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2018. Then, he did further damage to it in a game versus the New York Giants in 2019. 2020’s training camp began, and he was dealing with something again, but as of last August, Johnson’s been recovering from tightrope surgery to correct things. He seems pretty happy with where he is. Here’s some of what he said during his aforementioned chat with the Philly media.

"I think this week, you go out and watch me move, I think I’ve answered questions. It was just kind of one thing that lingered and I never got it fixed. I thought it would heal. Got it fixed. I got cleared a couple (of) weeks ago, so I’m just now where I’m not really thinking about it anymore. I’m starting to play and that’s really all you can do. I’m just really ready to go to training camp, get through that and get ready for the games. Keep stacking games and stacking days."

This time, the recovery process was different. Instead of playing through pain, he rested. That may have done the trick because now, it appears 65 is in the best shape physically that he’s been in for quite some time. Now, it’s time to turn the page and see if Lane Johnson can be the Lane Johnson that Birds fans remember. Let’s hope so because this offensive line sure got old in a hurry.

What are the reasonable expectations for the Philadelphia Eagles legend?

Would Lane Johnson have made a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl in 2020 had he stayed healthy? We’ll never know the answer to that, but it’s difficult to state that he isn’t just s good as David Bakhtiari, Trent Williams, or Terron Armstead (the guys that did go) when he is healthy.

Whether or not 65 can return to his old form won’t be determined for several months, but he says he’s ready to go, and we don’t have a reason not to trust him. Is he still a Pro Bowl talent? The answer is he absolutely is if he’s one hundred percent healed.

First thing’s first, however. Let’s get one of the guys that made dog masks famous through a full 16-game slate before we make any determinations. Then, we can reassess. As far as the Inside The Iggles staff is concerned, we’re split on the matter. Some see Johnson as a Pro Bowler even now. Some disagree. What say ye?

Hot. Goedert tops Ertz in recent TE ranking. light

Here’s something else to think about. He gets to work out versus the likes of Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and now, Ryan Kerrigan in practice. It’s doubtful that he’ll see a defensive end rotation that’s much better than that one. Buckle up if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan. This could be quite the comeback story for a fan favorite.