Eyes On Barbre As Johnson Suspension Looms

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

One last cameo for Lane Johnson before he disappears for four weeks.

Once the rosters are finalized on Saturday, Johnson’s four-game suspension kicks in. He is not allowed to participate in team activities, use the team’s facilities or have contact with any club officials (except to arrange off-site medical treatment) during this time. Johnson will play in the preseason finale Thursday night against the Jets, and then he’s cut off.




"Just being here," said Johnson, when asked what he is going to miss. "It's a family. You're in such a routine. You see each other every day, it's just familiarity. Not being around for a month is going to be different, I think even for some of the guys not having my presence here. It's going to suck but thank God it's only a month, just try to make the best of it."

The second-year tackle is heading to a training facility in Dallas called API. It was recommended by a member of the Eagles training staff, in part because of its nutrition program. He'll be just a couple hours from his home in Groverton, TX, which should give him a chance to see his family on occasion.

Johnson has been working with the second team this preseason while his replacement, Allen Barbre, took all the snaps with the ones.

"I've seen Allen progress during the move and it was important we got him there day one and really comfortable playing next to Todd [Herremans]," said Chip Kelly. "He's going to be our starting right tackle, barring an injury in terms of us moving forward here in those four games.  Did a really nice job in the run game, gave up a little pressure, but it was not an assignment error.  It was some technique things he continued to work on and I thought he did a nice job."

Barbre yielded a sack, a quarterback hit and three QB pressures over the course of 85 snaps this preseason, according to Pro Football Focus.

"I wasn't 100 percent happy with what I did [in the preseason] so I'm not going out and saying, 'I've got it figured out.' From every game, I keep watching things and things I see that I think I can fix and I want to play better," said Barbre.

Johnson, meanwhile, has anchored a second unit that has played above expectations and looked very strong against Pittsburgh's first-team defense last week. Asked about that group's performance, Kelly started by saying, "Obviously it's been bolstered because of Lane..."

This may have been the most underplayed storyline of the offseason. The Eagles are going to be without their starting right tackle, their No. 4 overall pick, for at least a quarter of a season. It could be longer. Can Johnson, after not practicing with the team for four weeks, realistically jump right back in Week 5?

"It's just a waste of time for us to have this conversation when we spend three hours in a meeting talking about what's the scenario, and you look up and our right tackle is Matt Tobin in the game because Allen got hurt or a couple other injuries could happen. You never really know," said Kelly. "We'll address it when the time is necessary.  But we've got four games of Allen playing with us, and hopefully we can keep all five of those guys healthy up front.  And then bring Lane back and work him into the mix and see how it fits at that point in time."

The Eagles benefitted greatly from having the same starting line together for the full 16 last season. That will not be the case this year. Barbre, who has not started a game since 2009, is in charge of the right tackle spot for the time being. He'll be asked to hold it down while Johnson heads west to serve his time.

"I feel better," said Barbre, "but there is still work to be done."

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  • Robert Baer

    I like how Chip belittles the question and points out how foolish it is, then answers it anyway. It’s like St Kelly is even coaching up the media to ask better questions.

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      right. you just want him to once say ‘hey, you have me for 15 mins, if you want to ask stupid questions for 15 mins, fine by me. with that said, you’re up Howard Eskin.’

      • Bert’s Bells

        He could sum all that up in two words. Time’s yours.

  • TNA

    LJ will be back in time for the Rams game. And they will need him. If he is completely out of sync and serves as a human turnstile, take him out and put Barbre back in. But with all the reports of him serving as the leader of the second unit and becoming better at making decisions himself, I’d expect him to contribute more cohesively with the OL than before upon his return. As Chip said, it’s not like he’s forgotten what Todd looks like.

    Whether it’s Barbre or LJ in the unit, Foles HAS to make the right decisions, faster. That’ll negate any backside disruption difference between Barbre or LJ. He’s like a perfectionist-procrastinator back there.

    • Andy

      Lane is definitely the better player today and should be in Week Five, but the question is whether he is enough better than Barbre to overcome the loss of chemistry along the line that would come swapping out your starting RT after pre-season plus four weeks of regular season. Lane has experience playing with the starting line all of last year, so hopefully that is mitigated.

  • Andy

    Any details about how he’ll be training at Athletes Performance? Is that just general fitness training or offensive lineman drills?

    I mean ideally he’d spend the month up living and training with the University of Oregon, right? Separate from the Eagles but as close to the program as you could get.

    • MagatBrackendale

      The article states that the Eagles training staff recommended the place, so…

  • Bert’s Bells

    And Matt Tobin somewhere breathes a sigh of relief: “I’m not getting cut…I’m not getting cut…”

  • NickS, Combine Warrior

    Todd’s looking pretty cut up. Crazy what a year+ of great conditioning can do. Think he has a bounce back year.

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      think it was Tommy L who said he’s been best OL in pre-season. TL also said Lane wasn’t as dominating as he hoped, which goes against what was said here.

      • southy

        Think TL is bearing in mind some significantly higher standards working mainly against 2s whereas other guys just see him handling his business and say he’s playing well.

  • Tautalatasi Jr.

    Lane Johnson mutes Grey’s Anatomy and cracks open his fortune cookie. A slip of paper floats to the floor. Anxiously, he turns it over. It’s blank.

    • Kleptolia

      Don’t care if it’s cut n’ paste. Still love it.

      • Tautalatasi Jr.

        hahaha thanks Klep

  • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

    I can’t believe he’s going to ‘allas to train. who knows what they’ll put in his smoothies? don’t trust ‘em.

    feels like Boobie Miles yelling as his doctor in FNL because he’s from a rival town. damm ‘allas.

    • Andy

      Huh huh…Boobie.

    • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

      Think he’ll run into Watkins while he’s down there?

      • Amar, CB who bought in

        I’m praying they don’t rub shoulders.

  • Kleptolia

    Absolutely the most underplayed story line of the preseason. Well said, Tim. Everybody has been freaking out over who is or isn’t a Duck and why Boy-king isn’t starting on the outside, while ignoring the importance of Lane on the right side.
    I’m just psychotic enough to say that QB isn’t the most important position in football. The most important positions are units: the Offensive and Defensive lines.
    For the sake of the Eagles offense, let’s hope that Barbre can be a suitable role player until Johnson’s return.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

      seems Tobin is next G up. Molk, unlike Vandervelde, is strictly backup C and not swing Int-OL. Gardner seems to be backup T, this year’s Barbre. And Tobin has been coached up from UDFA to backup G. I doubt they want to overload him with being backup to 4 spots. Especially with nice surprise that is Gardner

      • Kleptolia

        I’m impressed with what they’ve done with the second team o-line. Last year depth was a concern. This year it doesn’t look bad.
        Have to wait for the regular season to be sure.

        • damrvrhunter

          If there are no injuries how will the regular season show us the second team line is good or bad?

          • Kleptolia

            I give up. Why don’t you put on your explaining pants, saddle up Condescension, and ride heroically into the memory of our collective hearts with your winsome words of worldly wisdom.

    • damrvrhunter

      Not psychosis per se just delusional if you really believe that the one player who “touches” the ball on each and every offensive possession is not the single most important on field determinant of success. To make it easy on you using mathematics lets say a team has a 46% chance of winning a ball game. Do you think each and every one of the 46 that dress contributes 1% to that total or could it be that one of the 46 contributes an out sized share of that number. Is it the QB or the RT? To further help you along which is more “replaceable”?

      • Kleptolia

        The center touches the ball on each and every play. His odds of touching the ball are even greater than the quarterback, if there is a Wildcat formation in the offense.
        Thanks for making it easy on me.

        • poetx99

          lol. i love this reply. msg board ju jitsu.

          • Kleptolia

            He started it!

        • damrvrhunter

          You got me, the center and the right tackle are valued more than the QB.

  • Amar, CB who bought in

    Lane will be in Dallas for the next month ??
    Can we get a restraining order for a certain Fire station to keep him atleast 500 yds away ?

    • Guest

      Ouch.

    • MagatBrackendale

      Heh, heh.

  • JofreyRice

    I hope he cleans up the issues from the preseason. He looked pretty nice in emergency duty last year, though, so hopefully he will. I think Tobin is much more athletic, I wonder if they’ve given any thought to actually just putting him out there at RT, if Barbre continues to struggle?

  • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

    Mathis, Kerrigan, Orakpo, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis – some pretty imposing pass rushers/defenders weeks 2-4. Friend of mine is a huge Packers fan, keeps saying we’ll see the “real” Allen Barbre once he’s pressed into action full time.

    I guess I’m hoping Barbre just happens to be a late bloomer like Mathis. Otherwise, we may see Tobin sooner than expected.

    • southy

      Scheme and coaching have a huge part to play. See: Justice, Winston.

      • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

        ohh, well if its that easy then I’ve got nothing to worry about

  • peteike

    ok, one more holiday weekend to go then the real fun starts. Starting to feel like forever when its a week or so away, cant get here soon enough

  • southy

    “I’ve seen Allen progress during the move and it was important we got him there day one and really comfortable playing next to Todd [Herremans]… gave up a little pressure, but it was not an assignment error. It was some technique things he continued to work on and I thought he did a nice job.”

    You have to love that approach – emphasizing getting the line working as a unit and not making mental mistakes – keeping in mind the nightmarish game of musical O-line we’d played in 2010-2012 with guys with heaps of physical talent who never knew who they were supposed to block. Valley of darkness indeed.

    • damrvrhunter

      The famous Mudd “inside” step or some such thing.

  • TNA

    Anybody see the ESPN article re: Vick and Cooper? Ugh.

  • Max Lightfoot

    I guess CK doesn’t want Lane Johnson out there wrestling bears …