Locker Room Round-Up: Johnson On Peters’ Remarks

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Jason Peters pushed back hard when asked if the time is now for him to transition from tackle to guard.

“No, no. I can still play tackle. I’m the best we got,” he said following the game Sunday. “Who are they going to put there? Who is better than me in this locker room? Nobody. Who can they draft better than me? Nobody. Who can they pick up better than me? Nobody.”

Those comments were presented to Lane Johnson during locker cleanouts Monday.

“The guy’s a Hall-of-Famer so whatever he says pretty much goes,” said Johnson. “I think he’s a guy that’s still a relevant player. This guy had a lot of injuries this year, wasn’t able to be who he truly is. When he’s on his ‘A’ game there is nobody better. Whatever happens in the future — if I’m playing next to him; if he stays over there and I stay at right tackle — moving forward we’re going to do what’s best for the team.”

Peters was in and out of the lineup this season, which significantly impacted the stability of the offensive line. Johnson had less than a week to re-learn the left tackle position before getting his first pro start there against Dallas back in November. The following week against Miami, he didn’t know which side he’d be playing  until right before kickoff. (He ultimately played left.)

Johnson will train more for left tackle this offseason, he said, so he’s better prepared this time around should he get called on to play there either for a spot start or a more permanent basis in 2016.

“I mean I really don’t care [where I play]. If I got to play next to [Peters], if he did slide down to guard, that would be great. But you’re talking about a guy that’s a Hall-of-Famer, eight-time Pro Bowler, so it’s hard for a guy to, you know, admit stuff,” he said. “But I think he’s done great this year. He’s had to deal with injuries and not used to [not] being up to full speed and that stuff. But I think this offseason he’ll get healthy and if he’s playing left, that will be great but if we’re playing next to each other, that may be even better. So we’ll see.”

Championing for Undlin

The defensive backs have been singing the praises of Cory Undlin from just about the moment he arrived in Philly, and that continued Monday with the season gone and sweeping changes on the horizon.

“Selfishly, he’s made me a better player over the last year and I’d like to see that continue,” said Malcolm Jenkins.

“I let it be known to Mr. Lurie, to anybody else that wants to listen. But I think they already know his value as well, so hopefully he’ll get a re-interview. We’ll see. When you bring in a new coach nothing is guaranteed and everybody understands that, but I would love to have Cory back. He’s made me better as a player, he’s made each guy in our secondary better and he’s made us better as a unit. he has a lot of input as far as what we call for passing situations. When we played all the good quarterbacks, we did really good against the pass. And a lot of that had to do with him. So hopefully we can bring him back but there’s a lot of unknown.”

Jenkins said he thinks every Eagles coach “is preparing to be without a job today.” Such is the reality when a head coach gets fired — most of his assistants are let go as well. And it’s largely up to the new head coach to decide who is on the reconstructed staff. It seems if the DBs could cast their vote, they’d like the new group to include their old coach.

“I tell everybody: him and [Raheem Morris] are the best two coaches I’ve ever been around,” said E.J. Biggers, a free-agent himself. “Great teacher. I love being around him. Great person. Great, fun working environment. He’s going to make sure everybody knows what they’re supposed to do from the rookies to the oldest guys in the room. It was a great experience to be a part of that, just getting to know him, and I’ll take that on for the rest of my life.”

Thornton, Curry on future

Cedric Thornton played it down the middle when asked about the chances of returning to Philly next year.

Do you think you’ll be here?

“I feel like that’s irrelevant right now,” he said.

Do you want to be here?

“Do I want to be here? That’s not a question for me to answer right now, either.”

Thornton is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. He blossomed into a starter in Billy Davis‘ 3-4 scheme and was part of a defensive front that overall was a strength of this team over the last three years. Thornton did not sound concerned about a possible scheme switch and said he can play anywhere on the defensive line.

He has a house in the area and has kids in school here, but seems open to change if that’s how it unfolds.

“I’ve never been in this position before. I’m expecting a whole lot as far my standard. But my value is unknown so I want to know how much I’m worth,” he said. “Playing in a city that demands perfection is definitely lovely. But it is what it is. I love Philadelphia and the organization, but for me to say am I going to stay here or are they going to keep me, that’s the unknown and that’s not something that I’m worried about. I’ve put the film out there, and I feel like the other 31 teams have seen it, and we’ll see whatever my value is. If Philadelphia wants to keep me here, if Philadelphia wants me to be here, then I’ll be here. ”

Vinny Curry was asked if his feelings on returning to the Eagles would be impacted by what scheme the new coach decides on.

“No, I think everybody who knows me knows where I want to be, that’s no question,” said Curry, a lifelong Eagles fan and Neptune City, NJ native. He acknowledged that he is “suitable for a 4-3 and that’s playing to my strengths, but the rest I can’t control that.”

Like Thornton, Curry is poised to hit the free-agent market, though it has been reported that the team has had preliminary talks with his representation about a possible new contract.

“You never know what could happen. I could be signed to the Eagles tomorrow, next week, whatever,” said Curry after the game Sunday. “I’m just going to take it all in and just let my agent do his job.”