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. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Leftovers From Davis

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis met with reporters Sunday. Below are three things that stood out.

1. We’ve written plenty in this space about the high number of snaps guys like DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin played last year. Part of that had to do with the defense’s inability to get off the field. Part of it had to do with the team’s lack of depth at certain spots. Part of it had to do with pace and style of the offense.

But going forward, Davis wants to get those guys off the field a little bit more.

“It’s something we are very concerned about,” he said. “We don’t want any of them to play all the snaps. It’s too many snaps for any one defensive player. We know we had way too many. It benefits both us and the player and DeMeco or Mychal [Kendricks] that we get a rotation in there, too. We’ll get that rotation all the time through different packages and with the addition like you touched on of some new players. It will give us a little bit more flexibility. Read more »

Kelly: On Barbre, Lane And Failed Drug Tests

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Two Eagles players have been suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs this offseason.  The team only had one drug suspension during the 14 years under Andy Reid. Chip Kelly was asked at the start of training camp Saturday whether there is a lack of oversight from this current regime.

“No, I think we educate our players all the time. Everyone in the NFL knows you’re going to get tested. There’s also some individual responsibility that goes with the player,” said Kelly. “They’re also their own men. It’s no different than if you got pulled over for DUI, are you going to tell your employers that you didn’t tell me I couldn’t do that? There’s a lot of responsibilities. [Jake Knott and Lane Johnson] are both adults, they both made mistakes, they are going to pay a very hefty price for those mistakes, they are going to miss four games, they are going to miss four game checks, and hopefully that works.” Read more »

Mathis On His Decision To Report

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles

Evan Mathis knew that holding out was his only real leverage play, and that his leverage grew when Lane Johnson failed his drug test. But he just couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“It was easy for me to sit there and think about it a month ago but when it was getting down closer to the wire, it was not something I could see myself doing really. For multiple reasons. When I was in elementary school and I got sick and I missed a day of school I felt bad because I was behind, and this is not the kind of stuff you want to get behind on,” said Mathis as the team reported to NovaCare for training camp Friday.

“I try to look at it my point of view, try to look at it from their point of view. I didn’t want to have a negative impact on the team. I didn’t want to send the wrong message to the players, coaches, fans. I look at what I’m doing as doing the right thing in the situation.” Read more »

Johnson Provides Little Detail On Suspension

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

As Lane Johnson walked up to the podium outside the NovaCare Complex, a reporter asked him how he was doing.

“I’ve been better,” said the Eagles’ second-year offensive tackle.

Johnson’s four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy was announced earlier this week. Today was the first time he could tell his side of the story, but Johnson opted not to provide many details.

“It’s something I didn’t get cleared up with [head athletic trainer Chris] Peduzzi and something I didn’t really think about,” he said. “I got the paper back probably the first of May, mid-May. So I knew it was coming. It was just a long, drawn-out process. It’s something I’ve gotta deal with for four weeks. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: O-Line Training Camp Preview

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive linequarterbacksoutside linebackersrunning backsinside linebackers, cornerbacks, wide receivers and safeties. Now it’s on to the offensive line.

The pressing question: How much will the Lane Johnson suspension hurt the Eagles?

Let’s put it this way. In terms of devastation level, losing LeSean McCoy would be a 10. Losing Patrick Chung last year would have been a 1. I’ll put the Johnson suspension at a 6.5.

Offensively, losing McCoy or Nick Foles would fall into the “season changer” category. Losing Jason Kelce would hurt a lot too, given that the Eagles don’t really have an adequate replacement (at least not a proven one). Jason Peters or Evan Mathis missing time would mean definite downgrades. After that, there’s Johnson and a few others. Read more »

Eagles Confirm Lane Johnson Suspension

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Lane Johnson has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season, the Eagles confirmed Wednesday.

Johnson is eligible to return to the active roster on Monday, September 29 following the team’s September 28 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

 “In April while training, I mistakenly and foolishly put a prescribed medication in my body to help with a medical issue. I mistakenly failed to clear it with Eagles trainers and check the NFL list of banned substances. I am extremely sorry for this mistake and I will learn from it and be smarter in the future.

“I would like to sincerely apologize to Mr. Lurie, Howie Roseman, Coach Kelly and his staff, my teammates and our amazing Philadelphia Eagles fans. This will be very hard on me to not be battling with my teammates for four games – but I will be ready and better than ever when I return.”

Read more »

Inside Zone: The Foundation Of the Eagles’ Offense

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Before the drill begins, Jeff Stoutland shouts out a two-digit number, signaling the call to his offensive linemen.

He sets up a couple yards behind the line of scrimmage as Jason Kelce prepares to snap the ball, flanked by guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. With 16 offensive linemen in camp, Stoutland is in charge of the largest positional group on the roster. But that can be a good thing on days like this. Before it’s their turn for reps, a couple backups hold orange blocking pads and set up as down defensive linemen. Two more stand behind them imitating linebackers.

It’s an 81-degree day in early June, and the Eagles are on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex working on the blocking scheme for a familiar call: the inside zone. It’s a play Stoutland ran frequently at his previous stop, Alabama. And it was Chip Kelly’s go-to-work play during his time at Oregon.

When Kelly made the jump to the NFL last year, the inside zone served as the foundation for an offense that set franchise records in yards and points. So there’s a good reason why Stoutland yells the same number for the same call over and over again during practice. The pre-snap communication has to be mastered. The footwork has to be flawless. The combination blocks have to be executed. And the second-level linebackers have to be driven down the field with authority.

“It’s something we work on every day,” said offensive tackle Lane Johnson. “It’s always gonna be our bread and butter.” Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: The Latest On Lane

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Happy Fourth of July to our football family.

We are approaching the two-year mark here at Birds 24/7 (Our first post was on July 23, 2012). The site has been blessed with a smart and loyal and passionate readership since Day 1. We are very proud of the community that has been created and are looking forward to sharing in this upcoming season with you. For now, enjoy the holiday. We have a couple posts scheduled for the weekend in case you need to scratch that itch. Knowing you, you will. That’s why we get along so well.

Now onto the mailbag: Read more »

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