Lane Johnson saga drags on ... on a day-to-day basis
PHILADELPHIA >> Though they’ve had months of strong hints, the Eagles Monday entered yet another work week technically uncertain of how much longer right tackle Lane Johnson would remain eligible.
Johnson is facing a possibility of a 10-game suspension after allegedly failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs. His case has been under appeal but is likely to be settled before the Birds visit the Washington Redskins Sunday.
Until then, Doug Pederson will do what he has been doing. That would be … nothing? “Again, until we get the final word, Lane is my right tackle,” Pederson said Monday at the NovaCare Complex. “And I’m going to keep going that route.”
Complicating the situation, Johnson emerged from the Birds’ 24-23 loss in Detroit with a hyperextended right elbow, according to Pederson, who suggested Johnson would be able to play Sunday … if eligible.
“If Lane is limited due to his injury on Wednesday,” the coach said, “then as I mentioned before, we’ll probably have Big V (Halapoulivaati Vaitai) step up and get some reps this week, maybe on Wednesday.”
Johnson has maintained he was under the impression that he’d used a substance that was approved by the players’ association. He has said, though, that he expects to be suspended. If the suspension occurs this week, he would be eligible to play Dec. 22 against the visiting New York Giants.
*** The Eagles signed Vinny Curry to a five-year, $47 million contract last offseason. Sunday, he was in for 16 snaps. By contrast, defensive end Connor Barwin was in on 52, while Brandon Graham had 53 snaps.
“It comes down to the way we rotate and sometimes it’s personnel on offense, whether a team is going ‘hurry-up’ or not huddling quite a bit,” Pederson said. “Vinny is a big part of that group. It’s just a matter of the rotating basis and keeping guys as fresh as we can throughout the game. But there’s nothing other than that to read into.”
*** NOTES >> After four preseason games, three regular-season victories and a bye week, Pederson finally learned how it felt to be the losing head coach Sunday in an NFL game. He survived. “I’ve got to look at it as a play-caller and say, ‘Did I put our guys in the proper spot?’” he said. “Obviously, hindsight is 20-20. But coming away from this game, even under all the circumstances surrounding it, I felt like, and we felt as a staff this morning, that we gave ourselves an opportunity. We gave ourselves a chance.” ... In addition to Johnson, Bryan Braman (left shoulder sprain) and Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) reported injuries in the Lions game, Pederson said. Both are expected only to miss practice Wednesday. Fletcher Cox (left ankle), Dorial Green-Beckham (left knee) and Bennie Logan (left calf spasm) also had minor injuries but should be “fine,” Pederson said.