I guess it was too good to be true. Last week, I reveled in the notion that a lack of drama from the Eagles organization was going to lead to great success as the team continues to build upon what it accomplished last season. However, as we’ve all heard by now, RT Lane Johnson will be suspended for the first four games of the 2014-2015 season for using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
At this point, it seems as though back-up OL Allen Barbre will start in Johnson’s place during these games:
Week 1: Jacksonville Jaguars (HOME)
Week 2: Indianapolis Colts (AWAY)
Week 3: Washington Redskins (HOME)
Week 4: San Francisco 49’ers (AWAY)
Let’s hope that Barbre stays healthy from now, through training camp and the preseason games until week five when Johnson will make his return at The Linc versus the Rams. OL Matt Tobin is the other back-up lineman who the coaches like, but there’s a reason why he’s not a starter.
Now, getting back to my column from last week. Does this essentially hurt the Eagles offense right out of the gate this season? It certainly has the potential to do so. In a sense, this is a test for head coach Chip Kelly and his system. Whether it’s Barbre or Tobin, we’re going to see whether or not this system and training program is conducive to overall adaptation. If a key player cannot perform, will the back-ups have the ability to perform in the same capacity. While the offensive line had to adapt to a new system and scheme as last season progressed, they did not lose key players for a significant amount of time to test variations in personnel.
NJ.com’s article notes the following: “Barbre will be tested right away if he is the starter, as the Eagles face Ryan Kerrigan (8.5 sacks in 2013) of the Washington Redskins in Week 3, and Ahmad Brooks (8.5 sacks in 2013) in Week 4 when they travel to San Francisco.”
We’re going to learn a lot more about Kelly’s program, system and the kind of coach he is along with the offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland, and offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur.