Eagles new offensive coordinator and coaching prodigal son Pat Shurmur recently sat down with members of the media to give his thoughts on the progress of the offense as we head into the dead period of the NFL calendar.
He had a lot to say about a bunch of different players, but we'll start with with first round pick Lane Johnson.
"Lane's done outstanding," said Shurmur. "He's played a lot of different positions but he's an outstanding athlete and he's really taken to our new system really well. He was involved in a no huddle based system in college so he has some familiarity with how we function. It's just a matter of him learning what we call the plays. "
"From a tempo standpoint, he's been doing great."
It's important to note that Johnson has taken quickly to the tempo of the new offense because that's more or less the reason he was taken. Johnson is arguably the best athlete to come out at his position in years and should be a perfect fit in an upbeat offense that not only demands a high level of fitness but also asks its offensive lineman to move around quite a bit.
Shurmur was also asked what exactly it was that attracted them to Johnson as a prospect.
"He's an outstanding talent number one. He's extremely tough. He's proven that he can play multiple positions so he understand the game extremely well. And as a blocker, we thought he was an outstanding pass blocker and very aggressive in the run game. So for all those reasons we think he's going to project very well. "
This is the important difference between Lane Johnson and a guy like Danny Watkins. It is true that Johnson has only been playing offensive line for a couple seasons, as was the case with Watkins. However, Johnson has been playing football his whole life. That was not the case with Watkins, who had never even toughed a football before college.
Johnson doesn't need to be taught the game. He needs to be refined, his technique perfected... pretty much like any rookie. Understanding of the game though, that's something he already has.