BOTH the NFL and the Eagles going stone silent for the last 4 days on Lane Johnson facing a 4 game suspension for use of PED’s is unsettling. It makes you wonder if the NFL isn’t looking a little harder at all of our players, and maybe stepping up the number of requested tests for this team.
You’d think for a first offender (like Johnson), with no reported history dating back to college, that a pat suspension would be a fairly easy call to make. But so far we’ve heard nothing, and that has me somewhat worried. How much fallout will there be from this? Doesn’t matter. We don’t need any distraction during Training Camp. Least of all the NFL rooting through our team, in what would be a second investigation in one off-season. Possible fallout is what worries me.
However, what I’m not worried about is the Offensive Line; specifically the RT position. The fact is, we have a pretty good back-up in Allen Barbre. During last year’s preseason he more than held his own as he switched off between LT and LG. During the actual season when he had to step in at LT for Jason Peters in the Green Bay game, he didn’t get Nick Foles killed (though Clay Matthews was sidelined for that game).
To be truthful with you, I don’t recall that GB game very well, so I can’t say whether or not a TE was rolled over to help him much. As a former LT, what I can say is that typically the LT does not receive TE help, hence the left is generally the weakside of the formation. If Barbre did play most of those snaps with no help (“uncovered”), then RT should be a breeze for him.
At RT Barbre will generally be on the strongside because he’ll have a TE to his right. On passing downs, that TE can help out with a chip block as he releases into his pattern. A chip block slows down passrushers and generally allows the RT a chance to get his hands on that passrusher. So again, if Barbre could manage that at LT with no help, then RT should be a day down the shore, for him. And if he looks really good out there, he could end up taking over for Todd Herremans when Johnson gets back. (We talked about that one earlier, remember?)
Like I said before, I’m not worried about the O-line, but until the NFL says clearly that it’s just a suspension, and that it goes no further than the individual player; I’m still going to be a bit nervous. After all, we have no idea what goes into those smoothies Chip Kelly recommends so highly.