Jack Driscoll Continues Rollercoaster Ride of a Rookie Season

Ed Kracz

PHILADELPHIA – Maybe the Eagles sent up the white flag and surrendered to the idea that Lane Johnson won’t play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and maybe not Thursday either when the New York Giants visit.

Doug Pederson wasn’t ready to go there, yet, unwilling to concede that the best course of action in order for Lane Johnson’s ailing ankle to heal properly may be to shut him down rather than continuing to run him out there each game knowing that there is little chance he will make it through.

“We want to make sure number one that he's 100 percent,” said the coach prior to Wednesday’s practice. “If he's 100 percent then he'll play. Players play, right? Obviously, those are conversations we have later in the week with all of our guys. Obviously, we're talking about Lane now but we're not there yet with him. We'll make that determination as we get further down this week.”

Thing is, Johnson won’t be 100 percent, but he will want to play, anyway, because that’s the football warrior mentality he has. Pederson called him in the “day-to-day realm.”

A source told SI’s EagleMaven that rest is the only way Johnson will completely heal from an ankle injury that required surgery in August, continues to swell, and that “fighting through it” should no longer be an option.

A sign that maybe the decision has already been made, and Johnson will sit, came after Wednesday’s practice when Jack Driscoll was made available to reporters via Zoom.

Granted, Driscoll has been Johnson’s relief pitcher, so to speak, playing countless snaps when Johnson can no longer push off the ankle and is rendered ineffective. Driscoll was the one who, just hours before the season opener in Washington, was informed that he would be the starter at right tackle in place of Johnson, who was still just a few weeks removed from ankle surgery in August.

So, maybe all that was the reason Driscoll was made available to reporters.

He prepares like he is going to start, anyway, but now this time maybe he will know ahead of time that he will be playing.

“The coaches have done a great job of getting me reps, also just talking to Lane, and talking to the older guys on the line about what to expect and really staying involved in the game plan during the week has made it easier,” said Driscoll. “It’s tough when you don’t know when you’re going to get thrown in, but it’s always been said if you stay ready then you don’t have to get ready, so I’m preparing for the game like I’m the starter.

“Hopefully Lane goes, if not, but when it’s my time I’ll be ready to play.”

Driscoll’s rookie season has been one to remember, not only because he’s playing, but because there is only one healthy starter still suiting up full time, and that is center Jason Kelce.

“Dating back to the draft, it’s just been such a rollercoaster, up and down, not even up and down, just so many injuries and unknowns,” he said. “I just think for many reasons this season is unique. Something (offensive line) coach Stout (Jeff Stoutland) always preaches at some point one of the young guys is going to have to play.

“It could be a receiver, it could be a D-back, someone is going to have to step up, so I figure I want to be as prepared as I can so if it is my turn to step up the team is counting on me and I’m ready to help win games.”

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