The Eagles are beginning preparations for life without Lane Johnson, just in case.
Doug Pederson said he hasn’t personally been notified of a suspension to this point, but he talked like one could very well be coming.
“You’ve always gotta be mindful of that obviously in the back of your mind,” said Pederson. “I’ll visit with Coach [Jeff] Stoutland this week and we’ll evaluate where we need to go from here and if that’s the case, if it’s upheld, then we’ve gotta be prepared to make some moves. Until it happens, we go full steam but at the same time we also know and we’ve gotta be smart about it to have people ready to go if it is upheld.”
If it’s upheld?
“I guess if the suspension is upheld and if it starts Week 1, if the 10 games starts Week 1,” he said.
As we noted earlier, the wording in the NFL’s Policy On Performance-Enhancing Substances states that appeal hearings “will be scheduled to take place on the fourth Tuesday following issuance of the notice of discipline. Upon agreement of the Parties, the hearing may be rescheduled to another date.”
If a hearing ends up taking place in about a month’s time, that’s right around the start of the regular season. The Eagles, then, might not know if Johnson will be available to them for the rest of their preseason preparation. So Pederson is going to have to hedge his bets.
“I have to anticipate that there’s a chance [he’s suspended]. It would be smart on my part to have a Plan B if that’s the case,” he said.
So will you be rotating different tackles in with first team?
“Yes. That’s something with Coach Stoutland and I, we’ll make that decision to see who’s the next best available, and it may be somebody that hasn’t played there this spring or this summer, it could be a guy that’s already been there, so we’ve just gotta make all those combinations work in the next couple weeks,” said Pederson. “We’re still in training camp mode and we’ve got time to figure those out.”
Dennis Kelly is the listed backup at right tackle on the unofficial depth chart. There are other options as well, including sliding Allen Barbre out and playing Stefen Wisniewski at left guard. Either way, it appears the answer will come from in-house.
“We’ve got the bodies, it’s not that. We’ve got the bodies,” said Pederson. “We’ve got the guys that can definitely fill that role.”
Johnson started Thursday against the Bucs but saw limited action, as the first team was only on the field for a series. He left the locker room before the media entered.
Like Pederson, his teammates are uncertain how this thing will break.
“Obviously I heard the report but I really haven’t gotten any details on it,” said Sam Bradford. “I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not. Obviously you hope that it doesn’t but if it does then we’ve gotta move on and it’s the next man up.”
Source URL: https://www.phillymag.com/birds247/2016/08/12/pederson-working-on-plan-b-at-right-tackle/
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