Eagles

Eagles

Lane Johnson is entering his fourth year as the Eagles’ starting right tackle and his first year with a coach other than Chip Kelly, who drafted him in the first round in 2013.

Johnson has been solid since joining the Eagles but hasn’t made a Pro Bowl yet and hasn’t been on a team that’s won a playoff game.

In an interview with Reuben Frank and Derrick Gunn on Comcast SportsNet's Quick Slants on Wednesday, Johnson talked about those missing pieces of his career and addressed several other topics, including the differences between Kelly and Doug Pederson, his offseason contract extension and new right guard Brandon Brooks.

Here's the conversation:

Quick Slants: Chip’s training camp practices were a lot different than Doug’s. Shorter and much less physical. Which do you prefer?

Lane Johnson: “Today’s camp, the practice is a little bit longer, probably a little bit more individual time, but whenever the team periods do come, we get after it. Chip, it just seemed like everything was just fast-paced, fast-paced, just tempo all the time. From that standpoint, I like this type of practice a little bit better.”

QS: The Eagles signed you, Zach Ertz, Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox and several others to contract extensions during the offseason. What does that mean to you?

 

Johnson: “It feels good to know they have confidence in this group of guys. We’re the guys that want to take it to the next level, and the past two seasons haven’t been where we needed to be. We want to get in the playoffs and once that happens, anything can happen. So that’s our goal and try to establish a tough mindset in our training camp and get the ball rolling.”

QS: What feels different from last year?

Johnson: “I just feel like everybody has a chip on their shoulder. We haven’t played the way we’ve needed to play the last two seasons. Everybody knows that, and everybody feels like we have something to prove this year, and we do.”

QS: In your first three years here, you’ve played next to a bunch of different right guards — Todd Herremans, Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner and Dennis Kelly. Now free-agent pickup Brandon Brooks projects to be the Eagles’ starting right guard. What are your impressions of him along with Stefen Wisniewski, who has been playing right guard while Brooks has been hurt?

Johnson: “During OTAs, I got a lot of reps with Brandon. He’s just so big and so powerful, that it’s like running behind a damn beer truck. So it’s been fun. And then Wiz, playing next to him, he’s a smart guy, he’s played around 70-some games in his career, so he knows a lot about the game. So whoever I’m next to this year, it’s going to be good for me.”

QS: How will this year’s offensive line compare to last year’s?

Johnson: “We’ll be a lot better. First of all, this is the most depth we’ve had since I’ve been here. We have three solid groups of guys who can come in and contribute and a bunch of young guys. V (Halapouicaati Vaitai), trying to bring him along. A lot of guys are looking promising. But for the first five guys up front, I feel really confident that we can do some big things, to be honest with you.”

QS: What about your own goals? What are you shooting for this year?

Johnson: “Eventually, I want to go to the Pro Bowl in my career and I think that’ll happen as time passes. Just go out and play consistent this year. I think consistency is what gets you there, and hopefully it will happen.”

QS: Eventually, Jason Peters will retire and you’ll swing across to left tackle. Is that something you think about?

 

Johnson: “Not really. I just try to concentrate on my position. I know it’s eventually going to come. But I’m not trying to be Jason Peters. There’s only one Jason Peters. I’m trying to be the only Lane Johnson. Right now, I’m just focused on playing right tackle.”

QS: After two record-setting seasons, what happened to the offense last year?

Johnson: “I think the past two years our offense became stagnant. The second year we were doing some good things but really our third year we just became stagnant. Predictable. It didn’t look like the original Chip Kelly offense that we had. But right now with the new offense, we have a lot more play actions, a lot more screens, so a lot more in the playbook to not be so predictable.”

QS: It was an eventful offseason for Sam Bradford. How do you feel like he’s handled training camp?

Johnson: “He’s done well. Kept his mouth shut and just gone out there, and go play and try to earn the respect just from being on the field and showing people what he can do, and that’s basically what happened. As far as quarterbacking, we have great depth at that position. Carson [Wentz] has been amazing. A guy that can really throw on the run, and Chase Daniel, just a smart guy, a veteran guy who can come in and play as well.”

QS: What have you seen in Wentz?

Johnson: “I see a guy that’s very mature beyond his years. Very smart and very intelligent. I think that’s one of the reasons he was drafted so high. He’s been doing well. Just the speed outside the pocket, his ability to throw on the run, and he has a great arm.”

QS: You guys hit more at practice on Wednesday than in three years of practices with Chip. What value do physical practices like this have for the team?

Johnson: “I think Coach is trying to set a tough mindset in us, and that’s what we’ve been missing. We need to be a tough physical team. O-line, D-line, that’s where games are won.”