Lane Johnson saga drags on ... on a day-to-day ba­sis

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

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.

PAUL SANCYA — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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