Eagles

With Jason Peters re-signed, Lane Johnson again biding time at right tackle

With Jason Peters re-signed, Lane Johnson again biding time at right tackle

Lane Johnson figured he'd play a couple years, Jason Peters would retire, and he'd swing over from right tackle over to left tackle.

Now, Johnson is entering his fifth NFL season and that move seems no closer than when he got here.

"He may be 54 out there playing left tackle," Johnson said of Peters with a laugh. "He’s a different breed, man. He’s so big and strong, his body can do it. … 

"I might be over here my whole career, but I'm just going to make the best of it."

Peters probably won't play quite that long, but Johnson is an interesting position.

He was drafted as the Eagles' eventual left tackle, he believes he's a better left tackle than right tackle, and the contract extension he signed early last year pays him like a left tackle.

But Peters just won't retire.

Peters, 35, on Tuesday agreed to terms of a contract extension that shifts his future base salary into guaranteed money and makes it likely he'll be here for three more years (see story).

Johnson won't be 42 by 2019, but he will be 29 and going into his seventh season.

"I’m fine with it," Johnson said at his locker after minicamp practice on Wednesday. "Great player, been with the franchise a long time. I’ll probably end up right tackle this year, maybe one day he’ll end up going to guard, but he’ll play left tackle this year and I’ll play right. 

"But I’m just glad he’s here. Every day he’s here makes me a better player."

Head coach Doug Pederson suggested that the Eagles could move Peters to guard, presumably left guard, at some point in the future, and Peters said he's fine with that (see story).

Imagine Johnson at left tackle and Peters at left guard?

"Be like running behind a damn buffalo," Johnson said. "He’s just so big, man. So big and strong. Not many guys at 350 can run and move like he does."

But for now, Johnson is preparing for his fifth season at right tackle — he missed four games in 2014 and 10 games last year with NFL suspensions for a banned substance — and Peters is getting ready for his 14th NFL season and ninth with the Eagles.

Peters began his career as an undrafted tight end with the Bills before moving to tackle in his second season.

He's been to nine Pro Bowls and hasn't missed a Pro Bowl in a season he's played since 2006.

"I’ve got one of the best of all-time so I know if I can keep my play similar to his … I know I'm doing good," Johnson said. "From my first year to my second year is when I made the biggest jump as a player and it’s just knowledge. Stuff he’s experienced over the years. 

"He’s played a lot more players than I have. Gives me advice against guys I’m playing against. It’s just advice you don’t get anywhere else."

Johnson said he's happy playing right tackle, but he believes he's better suited to play left tackle.

"I think I’m better at left," Johnson said. "I’m a lot more fluid at left tackle. … I think I'm a better pass blocker on the left. I’ve gotten better on the right, but it’s just not as natural. I don’t know why. … Probably (because) having your strong hand inside so you’re able to be quick on your counter moves. I just feel quicker. I don’t know why.

“A lot of times they say the left tackle has great feet and the right tackle is less athletic. My deal was I got the best ever playing on left. One of the best ever. A Hall of Fame player. So I’ll bide my time till I’m over there. Just got stuck in a good situation for me."

Johnson is one positive test away from a two-year suspension, but he said his lawsuit against the NFL and the NFLPA to retroactively rescind the second suspension and re-guarantee contract money that became non-guaranteed upon his second suspension is still on course.

"It’s still ongoing, that’s all I can say," he said. "May be done sometime this year, but I really don’t know. Just kind of letting the lawyers do their thing and sit back and play football. 

"Sometimes these things take years. Hopefully, it gets solved before then but you really just don’t know. It’s just back and forth. Not much stuff has been resolved. Just going through paperwork."

Because of his suspensions, Johnson has missed 14 games — almost the equivalent of a full season.

He said his focus this year is playing 16 consistent games wherever he's lined up.

"I just want to go out there and show people what kind of tackle I am," he said. "I feel like I’m one of the best in the league and go out there and do a lot less talking and show people what I can do. 

"I want to be the best in the league this year. No ifs, ands or buts. … I’m not trying to get arrogant or anything, but you go watch the film. My deal is just stay on the field."

Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

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USA Today Images

Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

Washington head coach Jay Gruden has faced Carson Wentz just three times so far.

That's all he needed to think Wentz is special.  

"I think he's progressed at a rate as fast as anybody I've seen really," Gruden said on a conference call with Philly reporters on Thursday. "His ability to make plays in the pocket, his ability to stay in the pocket in the face of a rush and still deliver balls accurately, his command of the offense. 

"I think he's already proven this short in his career that he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league, quite frankly, and he's going to be for a long time. And I don't know how he got to Philadelphia. And I'm very upset about that." 

Wentz is 1-2 against Washington in his first three games, but that first win came in this season's opener on the road. In that game, Wentz completed 66 percent of his passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns and one pick, for a passer rating of 96.8. 

And Wentz has gotten even better since then. He's now the favorite in Vegas to win the NFL MVP. 

When asked how daunting it might become to face Wentz twice per season for the foreseeable future, Gruden pointed out that it's similar to the Cowboys and Dak Prescott. Then he pointed out they still have to face Eli Manning twice per season. 

"Every week it seems like we're playing against an excellent quarterback and knowing that Wentz is going to be there for a long period of time just puts a few more gray hairs on my head," Gruden said. "But love the competition and it's our job to get after him and make him uncomfortable." 

While Wentz is clearly the Eagles' quarterback of the future, things are a little cloudier in Washington, where Kirk Cousins is in his second year of playing on a franchise tag. 

Gruden said the "intent" is to have Cousins for the long-term, but it's already been a long saga and there's still no deal in place. 

Cousins has had a crazy career path. He began as Robert Griffin III's backup after being taken three rounds later in the same draft in 2012. But he won the starting job and he's started every game for Washington the last three seasons. 

Thursday, on a conference call with Philly reporters, Cousins said he thought there was a good chance the Eagles were going to draft him in 2012. He felt that way after meeting with Howie Roseman and Andy Reid before the draft. But instead, the Eagles took Nick Foles 14 spots ahead of him. 

After watching the Eagles rotate quarterback since then, Cousins doesn't have any hard feelings. 

"I think the Eagles have ended up with the guy that they want," Cousins said. "I think they're really excited about Carson Wentz and for good reason. They're one of the best teams in the league on third down, and some of the plays he's making off-schedule are very special. I think they're very content and I'd like to think the Redskins are as well. Hopefully, it can make for a great rivalry that a lot of fans can get behind and get excited about, hopefully, for many years ahead."

Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

Redskins running back Chris Thompson doesn't want to bring his family to the Linc Monday night because he's afraid of what Eagles fans will do.

Doug Pederson hopes Thompson changes his mind.

"Philly fans are some of the meanest fans I've ever experienced," Thompson told ESPN radio's Washington affiliate, ESPN 980, on Wednesday, according to a story in the Washington Post.

"I heard that's the one stadium you keep your family from going to. My family will be (up from Florida) this week, and they were like, 'I want to come to the Philly game.' I said, 'Absolutely not, you're going to have to wait until Dallas comes around. … I was told that right away my rookie year: Keep your family away."

Pederson said he loves Eagles fans and the energy and passion they bring but also said he hopes Thompson or any opposing player feels comfortable bringing his family to the Linc.  

"I just know that playing at home is a great advantage for us," Pederson said before practice Thursday. "Our fans are great, they're energetic, I love playing at the Linc. 

"You know, I hope every family can watch their sons play. I think it's important that they're there and have a chance to watch their siblings play, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents.

"Right now in the league, every stadium is great for the home team and ours is no different. We're just excited now to finally be getting a stretch of games where we can play for the home fans."

Thompson, a fifth-year running back out of Florida State, has played at the Linc twice, in 2015 and 2016, both Redskins wins.

The Eagles, 5-1, host the 3-2 Redskins in a national TV game Monday night at the Linc. The Eagles are 8-2 at home under Pederson, including a 2-0 mark this year, although they're only 4-6 at home against the Redskins over the last 10 years.