3 reasons Eagles wise to keep Lane Johnson at RT

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3 reasons Eagles wise to keep Lane Johnson at RT

As the Eagles began the individual portion of Thursday's practice, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was at left tackle next to Stefen Wisniewski. Lane Johnson remained at right tackle. 

It might seem to go against some conventional wisdom, but the Eagles are planning for Big V to take over for Jason Peters as the protector of Carson Wentz's blindside instead of sliding Johnson over. 

On Sunday, the line will look like this (from left to right): Vaitai, Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Johnson. 

Either way, losing Peters (MCL, ACL) for the season is huge. It'll be tough to overcome. But in the past, the team has toyed with the idea of moving Johnson to left tackle in a situation just like this. But now they're not.

There are a few reasons why this is the right move: 

1. Doesn't weaken two spots
While Peters had been playing at an All-Pro level at left tackle through seven games this season, Johnson was nearly as good on the right side. 

"I think I'm better on the right for now," Johnson said on Wednesday. "I haven't had any reps over there."

The thing about moving Johnson over and then replacing him with Vaitai is that it would weaken two spots instead of just one on the line. Johnson wouldn't be as good as Peters at left tackle and Vaitai clearly wouldn't be as good as Johnson on the right. 

It would make plenty of sense to get their best offensive tackle covering Wentz's blindside, but then the Eagles would probably limit Johnson in some ways by asking him to play out of position.  

2. Big V looked OK
A lot of folks probably still think about that disaster Vaitai had against Washington last season when Ryan Kerrigan beat him up and down the field. Last year's fifth-round pick doesn't look like that guy anymore. Is he an All-Pro? Not by any stretch of the imagination. But at least Vatai looks like he belongs in the NFL. 

If you take the time to go back and look at his game against Washington on Monday after Peters' injury, Vaitai actually played pretty well (see story). Sure, he gave up a couple plays, but he kept Wentz clean and even had one big play in the run game. 

Big V isn't going to be Peters, but there's a chance he might look like a serviceable player for the last nine games of the season. 

3. Great players over RT 
Johnson has already faced some great pass-rushers this season but there are more to come. DeMarcus Lawrence from the Cowboys, Von Miller from the Broncos and Khalil Mack from the Raiders are three of the best pass-rushers in football. And guess where they like to line up? Yup. On the left side of the defensive line, across from the right tackle. 

Now, you're saying, 'Why wouldn't those guys move across the line and face Vaitai instead?' Fair point. Washington actually tried that on Monday. Two plays after Peters went down, Kerrigan lined up over Vaitai, who held his own. And why make life easier on those top pass-rushers? If they want to seek out a favorable matchup, let them move, don't bring that favorable matchup to them. 

Former GM would demand king's ransom for Nick Foles

Former GM would demand king's ransom for Nick Foles

The Super Bowl champion Eagles face a multitude of tough decisions this offseason. 

The toughest is what to do with Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles. With franchise QB Carson Wentz recovering from a serious knee injury, the situation becomes more complicated.

Longtime NFL executive and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian essentially thinks Foles is untouchable.

Two first-round and two second-round picks would be a doozy of an offer for a quarterback who has one year left under contract. But that speaks to how highly Polian values Foles and the idea of having a top-notch backup QB on a contending team.

Former Eagles LB turned TV host Dhani Jones is in the same boat as Polian, saying he believes that Foles should be the starter, even if Wentz is healthy by Week 1.

Check out Jones' opinion in the video above.

Key staff member of 19 years leaves Eagles

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Key staff member of 19 years leaves Eagles

While the Eagles have been figuring out their new-look coaching staff, one of the more important people in the NovaCare Complex is leaving.

Head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down from his role with the team.

"We thank Chris for his contributions over the last 19 seasons and we wish him and his family all the best," the Eagles said in a statement.

Peduzzi took over as head trainer after Rick Burkholder went to Kansas City with Andy Reid in 2013. But Peduzzi had been with the Eagles in some capacity since 1999, when he joined the franchise as an assistant trainer.

“It has been an honor and a blessing to be part of this organization for the past 19 seasons,” Peduzzi said in a statement released by the Eagles. “I especially want to thank Mr. Lurie for his faith in me to care for the health of his players. I never took that lightly. I also want to thank Coach Pederson and Howie Roseman for the opportunity. I have had the pleasure of working alongside so many great people, from my staff and co-workers to our coaches and of course the players. More than anything, I am going to miss those daily interactions.

"However, I do believe the time is right for me and for my family to step away and take some time off. This was not an easy decision, but one that I have put much thought into and I appreciate the organization’s support and wish them all the best in the future. I am so proud of what we have been able to achieve together. To bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia this year was an amazing experience and I believe we have built a strong foundation that the team can continue to build on for years to come.”