The Eagles’ fourth overall pick toiled quietly in the background Monday, running with the second team while Dennis Kelly got the reps at right tackle with the ones. Jason Kelce — wearing a large brace on his right leg — got some work in but sat out teams drills, giving way to Dallas Reynolds. Evan Mathis‘ only appearance during practice was on Twitter.
The starting five up front that most envision looks something like this:
LT: Jason Peters
RG: Todd Herremans
RT: Lane Johnson
But on Monday, the first unit looked like this:
LG: Danny Watkins
Big difference. Just how close are we to seeing this line in its (presumed) most potent form?
Kelce admitted Monday that his surgically-repaired knee is “not 100 percent by any means” but said he is making progress. The 25-year-old, who is coming off a torn MCL and partially torn ACL, expects to be more involved during the June minicamp, but will likely still be limited. The trainers want to avoid unnecessary risk as they work to get the knee stronger. He anticipates being cleared the day before training camp starts.
“At training camp we expect to hit the ground running, full go, just like everybody else out there,” he said.
Mathis (ankle surgery) is also expected to be ready for camp.
Johnson’s timeline for when he will join the first team is a little less defined. By his own admission he relied heavily on his athleticism at Oklahoma and needs to improve in the technical aspect of the game. Kelce said that the veterans are taking Johnson under their wing. They realize that this is someone who will be getting playing time before long, so it’s in their best interest to help coach him up.
“Obviously at some point he’s going to be thrown in there with the starters,” said Kelce.”I don’t know when that will be. But you don’t draft someone fourth overall without the anticipation of him starting some games for you. I think it will be an ongoing process. Once they think he feels comfortable enough. You don’t want to throw him in there right away where all of a sudden his head is spinning because he is thinking about too many things. You kind of want to ease him in there.”
Johnson isn’t sure when his promotion might come.
“I’m just kind of going with the flow right now,” he said. “I think right now they are trying to maximize my reps [so I can] get the feel of things.”
The fact that Herremans is already seeing time inside suggests that the Eagles are counting on Johnson grabbing the starting right tackle spot sooner rather than later.
Herremans (dislocated foot) said that he deals with “old man stiffness every once in a while” but otherwise isn’t feeling the effects of last year’s injury. Peters (Achilles rupture) believes his issues are in the past as well.
“Just come watch me play,” he said. “I know what I’m going to do when I’m out there.”
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