Lane Johnson Back In the Fold
After a four-week suspension, starting right tackle Lane Johnson returned to the NovaCare Complex Monday morning.
“I saw Lane briefly this morning. He’s gotta meet with the training staff and get cleared physically,” said Chip Kelly at his day-after press conference.
“We haven’t seen him for a month. He told me he was at API in Dallas working out and there were some other players there. He looked good. It’s just the unknown. Where’s he at? How does he process things? How quickly does he get back into the swing of things? Where is he from a health standpoint?”
Johnson was officially activated from the reserve/suspended list Monday afternoon. To make room, the Eagles released offensive lineman Kevin Graf.
Talking with people around Johnson, there is confidence that the 24-year-old will be ready to play Sunday against the Rams. He apparently trained twice a day at the facility in Dallas and is said to be in very good shape.
There is likely to be some rust to his game, but the Eagles aren’t exactly in a position where they can sit around and wait for him to knock all of it off before inserting him back into the lineup. The offensive line, down three of the original five Sunday, struggled badly against the Niners. They need help now.
— Mychal Kendricks (calf strain) is making progress but Kelly was non-committal when asked if the inside linebacker would return to action this week.
“It’s a tricky deal. He started to do a little running last week but we’ll see how he progresses. Give Mychal credit, he’s been in getting treatment every day and working as hard as he can to put himself in a situation to play,” he said. “It will be an ongoing thing that you’ve got to watch this week, what’s he like on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and see where we can get him fit back into the plans if he can go. I don’t have any expectation one way or another that he is definitely out this week or that he’s in this week.”
— Kelly maintains that LeSean McCoy is healthy. The head coach conceded that McCoy — like the rest of the offensive players — is probably pressing to try and compensate for the losses up front, but says he sees the same back that claimed the rushing title last year.
“I don’t think we’ve been able to spring him. We haven’t gotten him to the second level. We’re losing some battles at the line of scrimmage. It’s about getting going and getting started,” said Kelly. “I think the same thing with the whole offense: it’s about getting going, getting started, getting one first down. We get one first down and we’re on a roll.”
— Many have questioned Kelly’s decision to pass on both third and fourth down from the one-yard line late in the game. The head coach, though, maintains that running the ball wasn’t much of an option given how little success the o-line had up until that point.
“I didn’t think we were going to be able to pound it in in that situation. My thought process wasn’t, hey let’s get a bigger back in and he can pound it in, it was just, are we going to create some movement against those guys? And I just didn’t think we could do it.”
— Kelly said that Matt Tobin, who struggled Sunday, got nicked up early in the game but did not specify what type of injury he sustained. Brandon Boykin (hamstring) and Jason Peters (leg) both exited with injuries briefly but were able to return. Riley Cooper was spotted at NovaCare Monday with a wrap around his right hand.