LANE Johnson getting a potential 10 game suspension doesn’t have to spell absolute disaster for our Eagles season. Fact is, we have players who can not only fill in, but who can also help us to remain competitive. While we may not be stellar at RT in Johnson’s absence, don’t for a second delude yourself into thinking we’ll be any less than competent there.
The knee-jerk reaction is to think that veteran lineman Dennis Kelly or rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai would fill in at RT. Depending on if Vaitai looks good in the preseason, letting him gain experience wouldn’t be a bad idea. Kelly’s back problems have taken a toll on his explosiveness out of his stance and gives him trouble with speed on the edge. We’ve seen that show. No need to repeat it.
In the event that Vaitai doesn’t look the part during the preseason, we still have Allen Barbre. Frankly, Barber is my solution of choice. He has played both T and G spots over the course of his career, including filling in pretty well for Jason Peters at LT when he was hurt a few years ago.
Barbre was expected to be pushed for his starting LG gig by rookie G Isaac Seumalo. However depending on how the suspension shakes out, it might be best to just pull Barber from LG early, and let him re-acclimate to RT while focusing in on the rookie mastering his future role. Odds are that Matt Tobin will step in for Peters during the preseason as he’s done during the last coaching regime.
Speaking of the regime change! The ability and flexibility to weather this storm, is only possible because we finally got a Head Coach who made an investment in acquiring talent on the Offensive Line. Even with a Peters – Seumalo – Jason Kelce – Brandon Brooks – Barbre, O-line, we’d still have Tobin, Stefen Wisniewski, and Andrew Gardner as depth. Every one of those guys is an experienced starter, and that’s not counting any rookie (I’m looking at YOU Darrelle Greene) who flashes in the preseason. So we’re better off than you may be thinking we are right now.
Like you, I would rather have Lane out there Day One. However, since the Eagles are built along the lines of scheme appropriateness and versatility, this is a storm we are more than ready to weather. So don’t you dare give up. Don’t you dare be afraid. We were literally MADE for this.