Lane Johnson: ‘I’m Trying To Be a Dominant Player’

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For Lane Johnson, the low point came in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The No. 4 overall pick in 2013 got beat for a pair of sacks and missed his assignment on the Eagles’ swinging gate two-point conversion attempt.

“Kansas City was a rough game,” Johnson said Monday after practice. “It was really early in the year. The thing was just to learn from it and continue to grow from it. So that’s what I did.”

Indeed.

Johnson showed steady improvement in the second half of the year as the Eagles won seven of their last eight games. There was never a question about his ability as a run blocker. Aside from the mental mistakes that plague most rookies, Johnson’s elite athleticism translated to the field right away. He is a natrural fit at right tackle in Chip Kelly’s spread-to-run offense. Read more »

Eagles Exit Draft Without O-Line Help

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles
Dagger. Dagger in the heart. 

Those were the words of Howie Roseman when, moments after the 2014 NFL Draft concluded, a reporter brought up the fact that the Eagles came away with no offensive linemen.

“I firmly believe in building on the line of scrimmage.  That’s kind of how I was raised in the National Football League,” the general manager said. “I thought we’d have some opportunities to get some o‑linemen, but there was a run in the third round that was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.  It was like ‑‑ I don’t know, if someone gave me the numbers, it was like player after player after player, and it was like ‑‑ all of a sudden we looked back up and our board was depleted, and we weren’t going to reach.  That hurt because we went in thinking that we’d get some guys.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: A Search For Brawn And Brains

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Chip Kelly
‘s “big people beat up little people” line is a popular one, and will be recited plenty in the coming days with the combine getting underway later this week. Height, weight, hand size, wing span…all of these measurables mean something to Kelly, and can help lead us towards the players that may be of interest to the Eagles. But there’s another, less heralded quote that should also be kept in mind as the powers that be descend on Indianapolis to get up close and personal with the draft prospects.

“There’s a very cerebral part to this game that I don’t know if people give enough credit to. It’s about making good decisions. Dumb people do dumb things and smart people rarely do dumb things,” he said last April. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Revisiting the Johnson Pick

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

Going into last offseason, the Eagles knew they liked Lane Johnson.

But they didn’t know just how much they liked him until they saw him in action at the Senior Bowl and the scouting combine. Like every other NFL GM, Howie Roseman stresses the college tape first and foremost when talking about prospects. But gathering information in Mobile, Ala. and Indianapolis is still an important part of the process.

“In January, we’re in pencil,” Roseman said. “Pen doesn’t come out until a couple weeks before the draft. We want to be open to the process. We want to make sure we’re able to be open-minded at every stage of it. That doesn’t mean we’re gonna have someone who’s gonna go from the fourth round to the second round. That’s not gonna happen, just for where we are because the game tape’s gonna be the most important thing. But when a guy’s in the first round and you see that he’s got traits, sometimes those aren’t confirmed until you get to the combine.” Read more »

Rookie Review: How the 2013 Class Fared

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

When asked how happy he was with the Eagles’ rookies this year, Chip Kelly offered a typical Chip Kelly response.

“It’s my favorite draft class for the Philadelphia Eagles,” said the head coach, sarcastically.

“I mean, I was really happy. I’m really, really happy with our young guys. I think they’ve all got really bright futures here. But is that going to happen every year? It’s a catch-22 because if it’s happened every year, then the top of your roster is not what it’s supposed to be. So if each year we’re bringing in 10 or 12 brand new guys and there’s only 46 guys active, they’re taking 10 or 12 guys that were on the team last year. So at some point in time, you hope you’re at a point in time when we’re not having anybody make the team as a young player because the older players we’ve got in place are doing a great job and we’re winning a ton of football games and we’re competing for championships. There’s that catch-22.

“But I think there was a lot of turnover early. I think that’s understandable. It’s a new coaching staff and new systems in every aspect of the game, so that part is a little bit different. But if we’re bringing in 10, 12 new faces every year, then that means we’re not where we need to be right now.”

Keeping that in mind, below is a player-by-player look at how the Eagles’ rookies performed in 2013 and what their outlooks are going forward. Read more »

All-22: Why the Eagles’ Offense Stalled

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With 3:54 left in the third quarter of last week’s playoff game against the Saints, the Eagles’ offense took the field for the ninth time.

The results of the first eight drives were ugly: six punts, one missed field goal and a touchdown. The Saints finished fourth in the regular season in scoring defense, and for much of Saturday’s game, Rob Ryan’s group got the better of the Eagles.

Nick Foles and company scored on their final three possessions to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.

Defense and special teams certainly shared responsibility for the 26-24 loss, but given the way the offense had played all season, it’s worth exploring why that side of the ball struggled for the first 41 minutes of the game. Read more »

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