One trick of the tackle trade is to line up as far back as possible while still remaining on the line of scrimmage.
“I think you’ll see that a bunch with tackles in the NFL because you have such fast guys and any advantage you can get, you’re going to try and get…It’s a fine line,” said Johnson.
He crossed that line more than once against the Chargers, at least according to the referees. Johnson was flagged for lining up in the backfield in the second quarter, then again in the third. The second infraction proved costly, as it negated a 37-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson that would have trimmed San Diego’s lead to three. Instead, the Eagles had to settle for the field goal. The Chargers ended up winning by three points. That certainly wasn’t the only Eagles miscue that hurt them, but it was one of them.
“I thought I was even with Todd [Herremans] and then after the touchdown was called they said I was lined up in the backfield,” said Johnson. “That’s what the ref called. Foolish penalties like that cost you a game, and that’s what it did today.”
Johnson said that he was warned by the refs two or three times before drawing the initial flag.
The No. 4 overall pick graded out pretty well against Washington in the opener. Sunday’s performance appeared to be a little choppier. Freeney was credited with a pair of quarterback hits, including one that forced a Vick misfire on a long bomb to a Jackson.
It was a day of hard lessons for the rookie, but lessons that he intends to make good use of down the road.
“He got me on a bull rush and a spin, but obviously that’s a really good experience for me going against a potential Hall-of-Famer,” he said. “I think it gives me more confidence moving forward knowing I competed against the best and did a decent job.”
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