Eagles Wake-Up Call: Big V’s Big Chance

Halapoulivaati Vaitai. (USA Today Sports)

Halapoulivaati Vaitai. (USA Today Sports)

Halapoulivaati Vaitai already has butterflies. He found out he would replace Lane Johnson as the Eagles’ starting right tackle Monday night, he first practiced with the other starters on Wednesday and he’ll play in his first NFL game on Sunday.

While the rookie fifth-round pick says he’ll be able to settle in after his first play against Washington this week, he’s already bubbling with excitement.

“It’s a good opportunity. I’m going to take it,” Vaitai, who goes by “Big V,” said. “It’s unfortunate for Lane, but that’s life. I got to be the next man up.” Read more »

Eagles-Steelers Rewind: Offensive Breakdown

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

With the All-22 coaches film coming out last night of the Eagles’ dominant 34-3 win over the Steelers, here’s what we observed on the offensive side of the ball:


*For the third straight game, Doug Pederson put together a good game plan and a nice group of plays to exploit Pittsburgh’s defense. Pederson’s misdirection screen plays worked particularly well, including Darren Sproles’ 40-yard gain on the opening drive. Carson Wentz faked a run to the left to Sproles, but what really got the Steelers moving the wrong way was the fake end around to Nelson Agholor. That opened up a huge running lane for Sproles when Wentz threw it back to him on the left side, with a few lead blockers who did an excellent job. Read more »

Kelce On the Offensive Line’s Surprising Success

Jason Kelce and Howie Roseman. (Jeff Fusco)

Jason Kelce and Howie Roseman. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles’ first-team offensive line has allowed just two sacks in the preseason, with the first coming on a naked bootleg in Pittsburgh they couldn’t have done anything about. The other was on their opening play in Indianapolis, when Nate Irving blitzed in between Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks to take Sam Bradford down for a 13-yard loss.

Irving timed his running start almost perfectly, shooting through the line of scrimmage nearly untouched while leaving Bradford nowhere to go.

“It’s a good thing Brandon actually touched him,” Kelce said, “otherwise (Irving) may have killed Sam right at the line.”

But it was also just one flaw in an otherwise impressive performance during the Eagles’ 33-23 win over the Colts. Read more »

Lane Johnson Not Confident B Sample Is Negative

Lane Johnson. (Jeff Fusco)

Lane Johnson. (Jeff Fusco)

UPDATE NO. 2: Ken Sarnoff, Johnson’s agent released a statement after the NFLPA’s.

UPDATE: The NFLPA responded to Johnson’s comments about the players union not standing up for its members.

Original Story

Lane Johnson is “not very confident” his B sample will be negative and clear him of any wrongdoing, he said Saturday after practice. He addressed the media for the first time after reports surfaced of him facing a 10-game suspension for failing a drug test a second time.

Johnson said everything he has taken was approved beforehand through the Aegis Shield app, which the NFL Players Association provides to players. He bought the amino acid supplement online, like the rest of the supplements he purchases, and checked to see if it was approved through the app, which the USADA and NHL also use. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: What We’ll Be Watching

Jalen Mills. (Jeff Fusco)

Jalen Mills. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles open up the preseason tonight with a 7 o’clock home game against the Bucs. Here’s what we’ll be watching:

Right tackle, obviously.

Lane Johnson has not been suspended as of yet, and even if he were, he’d still be able to take part in preseason activities. With news swirling of a failed drug test, though, the Eagles have to weigh how to proceed here as they get ready for the start of the regular season. The team has been quiet on the Johnson front and hasn’t said if he will suit up tonight. While the Johnson camp hadn’t received definitive word as of Wednesday afternoon, its assumption was that the Eagles would play him.

Either way, the first team likely won’t be on the field long and Doug Pederson will want to get a look at some possible replacements should Johnson be unavailable to him. Dennis Kelly is listed as the backup at right tackle on the unofficial depth chart with Halapoulivaati Vaitai behind him. The Eagles could also try Andrew Gardner or Allen Barbre in that spot. The more reps the better for these candidates, just in case. Read more »

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