By Joseph Santoliquito
There’s no question that the Philadelphia Eagles are a far different football team when Lane Johnson is at right tackle. There’s no question that Johnson is one of the better offensive linemen in the NFL. There’s also no question that Johnson—if healthy and suspension free—could be the best NFL right tackle after this season.
It’s something that he won’t come out and readily admit.
But it is something everyone else around him know he’s capable of being.
“I think Lane has more than a chance to be the best right tackle in football, Lane is pretty damned good,” said Eagles’ right guard Brandon Brooks, who is one of the best guards in the NFL today. “He’s one of the most athletic guys I’ve been around. He has a blue-collar mentality. Lane wants to be great. Right now, he’s among the top five tackles in the NFL, maybe top three. Lane is that good. It’s only a matter of time before he is the best tackle in the league.”
Johnson says this year he’s taking things a lot more seriously, and that includes film study and learning about who he will be going up against this season.
“I know I’ve been the one who’s gotten in my own way,” said Johnson, who was suspended 10 games last year for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and previously suspended four games for a PED violation in 2014. “I’ve always taken game days seriously. I’ve always taken practice seriously. The next step for me is taking the film room more seriously and understanding football and being a better student of the game. I used to joke around in film sessions. I like to keep it light. But when you do it too much, it can be distracting, and that’s what I’m talking about.
“I want to put it all together and be a Pro Bowl player this year. I think the ability is there and it’s just staying consistent and playing my best. I think, personally, I’ll be going up against the best pass rushers this year, in Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Justin Houston, and look who I’ll be playing, and it’s pretty much a Pro Bowler every week.
“People like to identify the best rusher on the left tackle. That’s not the case anymore. They like to put their best on the right, who’s perceived to be the weaker tackle. I’m getting ready for it. There’s a lot more mental preparation than ever.”