So far this offseason, it seems like Eagles right tackle, Lane Johnson has been paying attention to most of the Eagles headlines. Especially those that include his QB or the O-Line. Despite PFF ranking the Eagles offensive line as the best in the NFL. Johnson has found himself left out of other rankings. Within the past week or two, the MMQB group of Sports Illustrated came out and ranked the top 10 offensive linemen but oddly enough, Johnson was left off of the list. A bit of a head-scratching move by SI’s MMQB team.
Johnson is coming off an up and down season for not only himself but for his team. He had a rough start to the season last year when he allowed five sacks and thirty-six pressures. Not great numbers for the franchise right tackle. Especially a tackle who’s shown to be capable of more throughout his career.
Despite dealing with a Grade 2 MCL injury and a high ankle sprain for the majority of the 2018 season, Lane was able to find his footing after the rough start. He ended up not allowing any sacks from week 5 on and only allowing nine pressures during a seven-game run to close out the season. This is all while battling players like Ryan Kerrigan, JJ Watt, and even Khalil Mack. In week 13 of the 2018 season, Johnson did not allow a single pressure from the Redskins edge rusher, Ryan Kerrigan. That alone is beyond impressive against a player who’s ranked 5th among edge rushers in PFF’s pass rush productivity metric.
Lets date back to a more memorable time. During the Eagles run in the 2017 season where Lane Johnson only allowed one sack all season. One sack! That’s phenomenal for a player who apparently isn’t a top 10 talent. Now let’s take it up a notch. Do you remember the 2017 playoffs? You know, the one where the Eagles outlasted the Falcons, dominated the Vikings and gave it to the Patriots? Of course, you do! but if you don’t then we may need to schedule a psych exam, ASAP!!
Anyways, throughout 207 snaps in the 2017 playoffs, Mr. Pave the Lane Johnson didn’t allow a single sack. NONE! Imagine that.
Johnson has gone up against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL and has come out victorious on numerous occasions. He’s remembered most for the left club hit that he gave to the Broncos outside linebacker, Von Miller, while not allowing Miller to touch Wentz. How about this one, do you recall the first touchdown for the Eagles in the 2017 season? Carson Wentz threw a bomb to Nelson Agholor while escaping pressure along the left side and middle of the offensive line. Now, if you take another look at that play. You’ll notice the big Texan, wearing number 65 for the Eagles, casually wrestling Ryan Kerrigan on the side. Lane Johnson protected Wentz for a whole 9 seconds on that play against one of the top pass rushers in the game.
Now, I understand Lane Jonhson isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but he’s arguably one of the best tackles in the game, if not the best right tackle. Despite dealing with both of those nagging injuries last year, Johnson finished the season ranked as the number 12 tackle in the NFL by PFF and number 7 in run block.
With the 2019 season inching closer by the day, Johnson seems to be 100% healthy and 500% motivated. With all the criticism Wentz received, Johnson was the first to step in and defend his QB. When Cowboys defensive end, Demarcus Lawrence, made his comment on Wentz’ extension by saying “the richer they get, the better it feels when we humble they a**”, Lane Johnson made sure to remind Lawrence who he had to go through first by saying, “can’t wait” with a road block emoji.
He even made sure the world was aware that he knew he was left off of the MMQB’s top ten list by tweeting out, “noted”. Lane Johnson is in a defining moment in his career right now. The Eagles right tackle has to be on his “A” game this year if the Eagles are to make a run. The franchise is literally in his and the other four linemen’s hands due to Wentz’ injury history. I’m more than sure that fans will see the best of Lane Johnson this season. For one reason and one reason only, it’s like how Chris Long once told Lane, “You’re the best in the league at what you do!” I’ll build on that by saying now show them how you “Pave the Lane”.