Lane Johnson Weighs in On Battle to Start at Left Tackle

The right tackle gave a behind the scenes glimpse, as Jordan Mailata gets better of Andre Dillard on Day 2 of camp, evening the score at 1-1
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PHILADELPHIA – Jordan Mailata evened the score on Thursday.

A day after Andre Dillard got a leg up on the battle to start at left tackle, Mailata made it 1-1, at least in the view of several reporters on hand to witness the battle the past two days.

It was an easy contest to score on Day 2 of training camp, especially after watching Dillard get beaten badly during one-on-one drills, both times by Derek Barnett. Mailata held his own against whoever lined up on him, which included Brandon Graham once.

Mailata also took all the first-team reps.

“It’s still early,” said right tackle Lane Johnson. “I know they’re competing every day, every drill, it’s intense. That’s what training camp is all about. It’s rumble in the jungle time when this time of year comes around.

“Both of them are taking it seriously. Mailata is looking really good, Dillard is looking really good, but we haven’t put any pads on yet. I think once that happens people start separating themselves.”

Ah yes, the pads. That’s when the scoring system will carry more weight.

Exactly when the pads will come out is unknown. The Eagles will practice two more times this week then take off Sunday.

There hasn’t been a battle to be the left tackle since 2009 when Jason Peters arrived and made it his own for 17 seasons.

Jordan Mailata (right) talks to teammates Lane Johnson (left) and Brandon Brooks prior to Thursday's practice on July 29, 2021

Jordan Mailata (left) talks to teammates Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks prior to Thursday's pratice.

“You’re always enjoying watch that,” said center Jason Kelce. “There are two guys who have a great opportunity to seize a position, a starting position, to potentially change their lives. You end up starting left tackle, sign big-money contracts, and realize your dream of starting and playing in the NFL. Those are the storylines you really enjoy watching in training camp.”

Johnson gave a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes of this left tackle battle, especially when watching film.

“We joke around with them,” said Johnson. “We say, ‘Who’s going to reign supreme?’ We’re pretty mean to each other, but in the way to keep it lighthearted, keep them laughing, and when it’s time to go to work and handle business, handle business.

“Jordan Mailata is a monster. Andre Dillard is a super freak athlete. We’ll know more as the pads come on and we start scrimmaging and doing all that.”

The tough-love approach can sometimes rub some the wrong way, especially when tempers grow shorter as camp goes along and the heat and humidity continue on unabated.

“We just give each other hell,” he said. “We’re mean to each other. We say stuff jokingly. We say anything we can to get under each other’s skin, to try to loosen up and get away from your ego I guess, so it doesn’t matter who you are, we’re at each other’s necks most of the time.

“At the end of the day, we’re family, we know that, and it’s all love. We just like to joke around and keep it lighthearted sometimes.

“There’ve been times I didn’t take it well, but hey, get over yourself.”

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.