Eagles Wake-Up Call: Johnson Draws High Marks From Kelly

Lane Johnson has spent the past three-plus months fine-tuning his technique and preparing for life as an NFL offensive tackle.

Friday night was the first chance to see how he measured up. And the Eagles’ No. 4 pick produced impressive results.

“I thought Lane did a real nice job, especially in a first game,” Chip Kelly said. “Very consistent. He may have been our most consistent offensive lineman, the way Coach [Jeff] Stoutland graded it out. Knew exactly what he was doing, didn’t have any mental errors, plays with great effort. He’s always trying to make the extra play and play until the whistle.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson played 21 snaps: 13 in pass protection, eight as a run-blocker. The key with him in Year 1 is getting the elite athleticism to show up on the field.

For example, take a look at this Chris Polk 4-yard run in the first. Johnson starts off double-teaming a defender with Brent Celek:

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But he then peels off and looks for a defensive back to hit.

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And even though Polk is being brought down behind him, Johnson shows off his athleticism, getting his hands on a defensive back at the next level.

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Not bad for the 23-year-old.

“His first game, he didn’t really stick out like a rookie – in a good way,” Kelly said. “Sometimes I think they stick out as rookies in a poor way where they’re going in the wrong direction or they’re kind of caught up in it. But I don’t think he was by any stretch…”

Johnson missed Sunday’s practice to be with his family, following the birth of his son. But according to Adam Caplan, he’ll fly back to Philadelphia today and start preparation for Thursday night’s matchup against the Panthers.

It’s only one preseason game. But so far, so good for the Eagles’ first-round pick.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Cary Williams doesn’t seem to agree with all of Kelly’s methods, saying the Patriots played dirty during practice last week and adding that he’s trying to bring some “nasty” to the Eagles’ defense. T-Mac has the full rundown.

Sunday’s practice notes and observations include Clay Harbor making the switch to wide receiver.

A position-by-position game review of the Eagles’ offense.

And the defense as well.

Matt Barkley’s play picked up with the pace, writes McManus.

The Eagles’ offense includes “packaged plays” that have run/pass options. We show what we mean with the TV tape.

At least one Eagles defender thinks the team could benefit from more tackling at practice.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Rich Hofmann of the Daily News says this is Michael Vick’s job to lose:

The difference? Some of this can be measured with a stopwatch but a lot of it is just a feel, an impression. And the sense you get is that when Vick is in the game, he supplies most of the offensive dynamism while, when Foles is in the game, he seems to be more of a facilitator and it is the offense itself that supplies the dynamism. That is one night’s take. Whether or not Chip Kelly shares it is unknown, as is what it all might mean over time. But in the here and now, this is Michael Vick’s job to lose.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz always does a thorough job with his game reviews. Here are his thoughts on left tackle Allen Barbre:

Looked more natural as run blocker than pass blocker. Did a solid job on initial 3rd down, but still gave more ground than you would like. Must engage defenders and control them. Doesn’t have great feet, but used his hands well at times. Got beaten on 3rd/11 by RDE using a spin move on him to the inside. Made a poor block attempt on the pass play where Foles had the ball knocked out of his hand. Never got his hands cleanly on the DE.

COMING UP

Practice back at the NovaCare Complex. We’ll have you covered.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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