PHILADELPHIA – Lane Johnson is a full go in practice.
Repeat: Lane Johnson is a full go in practice.
There wasn’t a time in 2020 that statement could be made. The Eagles' right tackle, though, has been cleared for any and all activities that took place this week during the Eagles’ spring workouts and going forward over the next two weeks.
“I’ll have two legs and be a different animal this year,” Johnson said following Thursday’s practice.
The upheaval on the offensive line last season was just as much a reason for 4-11-1 as anything else.
Now, it looks like the right side will return intact, with Johnson, who turned 31 on May 8, and Brandon Brooks, set to turn 32 in August, back at right guard after an Achilles cost him his entire 2021 season.
“Having Brooks back, I feel like we’re both in a good place as far as with our bodies,” said Johnson. “I feel like we’re in a spot where we have a lot to prove. When you get in your 30s that’s when the doubt creeps in.
“Obviously, it’s when a lot of guys are at the end of the road when they get to the mid-30s, late 30s, so I feel a sense of urgency between the both of us to go out there and really prove ourselves. You’re constantly proving yourself every year, year in and year out.”
The Eagles’ offensive line has proven itself for many years now and has been resistant to change.
They hung on too long to Jason Peters, but they are in a position to run it back again this season, without Peters and a left tackle to be named between Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard.
There may be another change in the works, with second-round pick Landon Dickerson a possible threat to unseat Isac Seumalo at left guard if Dickerson proves to be healthy following a late-season ACL tear.
“These guys up front, I'll tell you what, now, when I got here and I started watching tape of these guys, and I was watching the skill guys at times, but my eyes would go to the offensive line,” said offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who met with reporters via videoconference on Thursday for the first time since he was hired.
“Jason Kelce, these guys, Lane, all these guys are freakin' awesome football players. We're excited about this group. [Eagles run game coordinator/offensive line coach] Jeff Stoutland and [Eagles assistant offensive line coach] Roy [Istvan], they do a hell of a job with those guys.
“We're super excited about this offensive line, getting these guys back in. And even watching these guys communicate, you can see how tight they are, and how well they've worked together the last eight or ten years together. This is a good group. This is one of the best in the NFL, no doubt about it.”
Johnson said he was just cleared to return to all activities only a few weeks ago, and is excited to return to the player he was that earned three Pro Bowl trips and a first-team All-Pro nod once.
Last August, Johnson had tightrope surgery on one of his ankles, and he never fully recovered.
He tried to fight through the ailment but was eventually put on Injured Reserve after seven games. He had another surgery on the ankle in November.
“I feel normal running again,” he said. “Really see no issues with it. Don’t have to think about it anymore like I was. You go out and watch me move, I think I’ve answered questions. It was just one thing that kind of lingered and I never got it fixed.
“I felt like it would heal, but got it fixed so I’m just now not really thinking about it anymore. I’m starting to play.”
And that’s good news for an Eagles offensive line, which, once again, should be a true strength.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.