Eagles' offense worried? Lane Johnson contradicts himself

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Eagles' offense worried? Lane Johnson contradicts himself

Some are looking at the Eagles' shaky 19-10 win over the Raiders on Monday as a sign of trouble on the horizon with the playoffs fast approaching. Lane Johnson, on the other hand, might tell those people they should be grateful for what they were given on Christmas Day.

"If we win, we win," Johnson said from the Eagles' locker room postgame. "It's just at a point though where we're winning the game, nobody's satisfied anymore.

"We won the game. That's all that matters."

That may be, but could you imagine Johnson saying something similar when the Eagles were deep into their nine-game winning streak earlier this season?

Probably not, because it wasn't happening.

To be fair, Johnson wasn't trying to make the case the Eagles performed up to expectations against the Raiders. Quite the contrary. The Pro Bowl right tackle understands that the offensive performance probably wouldn't be enough to beat most teams in the postseason.

The Eagles mustered 216 yards of total offense and found the end zone only once while turning the ball over twice in the victory.

"We're not proud," Johnson said. "We didn't play well. We didn't execute well. Even though we won, we're still not happy with how we did. Moving forward in the playoffs, we have a lot of stuff to fix."

At the same time, Johnson didn't seem to think there's a whole lot of validity to questions of whether the Eagles are regressing.

"If we don't win in a certain fashion, there's going to be, 'Hey, we're not good enough,'" Johnson said. "I've been hearing it my whole career. It's so ridiculous.

"Moving forward, we have to drown out distractions and try to win one game at a time, because it's really hard."

The win on Monday moved the Eagles' record to 13-2 and clinched the top playoff seed in the NFC. It was also their third consecutive W.

It was also the third straight in which the Eagles played poorly in at least one phase and the third that required late-game heroics to secure the outcome. And not coincidentally, it was the third game the team finished without starting quarterback Carson Wentz.

There's good reason for the increasing concern outside the Eagles' locker room.

Johnson's comments also seem to indicate a shift in his own philosophy from earlier this season.

The fifth-year veteran compared the offense's performance versus the Raiders to how the unit fared in the Eagles' 33-10 win over the 49ers back in October. Yet, the difference in Johnson's sentiment less than two months later following a similar result is startling.

"I feel like a loss right now," Johnson said immediately after the 49ers game. "Just the way that we performed in the first half is not the way that we wanted to execute."

For the most part, Eagles players are continuing to say the right things — although some might be feeling additional pressure since Wentz went down.

Last week, Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby aimed a Twitter rant at his critics after a poor performance by the secondary in a win over the Giants. And safety Malcolm Jenkins, while attempting to rationalize Darby's outburst, may have inadvertently slipped in a little commentary about the atmosphere surrounding the franchise.

"We understand that we play in Philly, so we're looking for every reason to create a panic," Jenkins said Monday.

Can't think of any legitimate reason why the fans would panic about every mistake right now, big or small.

Johnson and his teammates are correct that the important thing is the Eagles ultimately defeated the Raiders. It would also be accurate to say many of the recent issues are correctable, and the squad could be firing on all cylinders come January.

But it feels like the mood has changed as the Eagles begin to realize their margin for error has been dramatically reduced. All of a sudden, a win that might've felt like a loss in October has become one everybody should be happy about in December.

So if nobody seems satisfied by a narrow victory over an opponent flying across the country to play on Christmas Day having just been eliminated from playoff contention, that's at least partly a result of the mindset Johnson and the Eagles instilled all season long — up until now.

Carson Wentz has an incredible pair of custom cleats for his return

@cj_wentz on Twitter

Carson Wentz has an incredible pair of custom cleats for his return

Look good, feel good, play well, right?

That’s at least maybe how Carson Wentz is feeling right now. He’s set to make his return to the field tomorrow against the Colts and he’s got a sick pair of custom designed-shoes for pregame.

The shoes feature his foundation, AO1 and food truck charity, Thy Kingdom Crumb, Wentz’s classic No. 11 and several mantras Wentz lives by.

Check out the video Wentz shared on his social media today below.

The kicks look good and we can’t wait to see how good Wentz looks playing in the Linc Sunday. 

More on the Eagles

Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

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Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

Something to watch with Carson Wentz in Year 3, the Eagles' recent domination at the Linc, one bad play doesn't define Jalen Mills and much more in Roob's 10 random Eagles observations. 

1. The Eagles’ defense needs to bounce back from that loss Sunday with a vintage Jim Schwartz performance, and I think they will. At the Linc? The Eagles have allowed just 48 points in their last six games and only 11.7 per game since the start of last year, lowest in the league. Andrew Luck looks healthy and efficient again and should thrive in Frank Reich’s system. T.Y. Hilton hasn’t hit a big one yet but might be the most underrated receiver in the NFL over the last six years. The Colts can come in here and win if the Eagles aren’t careful. The defense needs to really take command and pressure Luck, stuff the run, force a couple turnovers and take some pressure off an offense that has a new quarterback, a shaky lineup of receivers and a banged-up running back corps. I’d really like to see something like a 13 on the scoreboard under “Colts” by 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

2. Nick Foles impresses me every time he speaks.

3. The biggest misconception about Clyde Simmons is that his production was simply the product of Reggie White getting doubled. Simmons was a flat-out beast in his own right. Simmons had some very good seasons after he left the Eagles, adding 45 sacks post-Eagles to the 76 he had here. When he retired after the 2000 season, he had the 10th-most sacks in NFL history. But he was also an absolute monster against the run. During his seven years as a starter here, the Eagles allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL, and Simmons was a big reason why. So few defensive ends are this skilled at rushing the passer but also so stout against the run. The Eagles happen to have two of them at once. It’ll be great to see Simmons and Seth Joyner go into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame Sunday. They came in together in 1986, and 32 years later, they’ll finally take their rightful place together among the best in franchise history.

4. Something to watch these next 14 weeks: Carson Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 21st out of 25 QBs who threw 400 passes. After the season, Wentz identified accuracy as his biggest area he needed to improve. The NFL average is 62.1 percent, and Wentz was at 62.4 as a rookie. Obviously, he needs help from his receivers, but I’d be surprised if Wentz isn’t in the 63-64 percent range this year.

5. The disdain for Jordan Matthews that I’ve been reading and hearing the last few days is truly baffling. Matthew's biggest crime is that he isn’t a superstar. He’s a decent receiver when healthy, a good person and a natural leader. Maybe if he was one of those prima donna WRs who demands the ball, gets himself suspended for drug violations, quits on his team and screams at his coaches people would like him more. I don’t know if he’ll help the Eagles’ depleted wide receiver position right now, but I do know he made the most sense out of all the available wideouts.

6. Trivia question: Who’s the last Eagle with six or more interceptions in a season? The answer is below.

7. Not sure how it’s possible to watch how Jalen Mills played last year as a 23-year-old second-year pro starting for a Super Bowl team with the No. 4 defense in the NFL and then give up on him because of one play against one of the most dangerous deep threats in NFL history that wasn’t even totally his fault. Mills is a good cornerback. One play doesn’t define him, just like it doesn’t define Malcolm Jenkins, who abandoned his assignment in the middle of the field. Mills is fine.

8. In his first 46 games, Nelson Agholor caught eight or more passes once. In his last three games, he’s caught eight or more passes three times.

9. The Linc is exactly half as old as the Vet was when it was demolished.

10. The Eagles are 16-3 at home under Doug Pederson, and of those 19 games there’s only one that the Eagles weren’t in until the final minutes, and that was the 27-13 loss to the Packers in 2016. But even that was a four-point game in the fourth quarter. They’re in every game at the Linc and they win most of them. You can talk about the Packers or Chiefs, but I don’t think there’s a team with as strong a home-field advantage as the Eagles.

Trivia Answer: Brandon Boykin had six interceptions in 2013. He had only two more the rest of his career as he battled injuries.      

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