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Eagles training camp: Should Lane Johnson or Allen Barbre take first team reps at right tackle?

How will the Eagles handle Lane Johnson's suspension during the summer?

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson has officially been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season, it's time to wonder how the Eagles should prepare knowing they'll temporarily be without him. Keep in mind that Johnson will be able to participate without restriction during Eagles training camp and preseason until August 29th, the day after the final exhibition game. But should the Eagles give him the first team repetitions this summer or should they go to his likely replacement, Allen Barbre? How about a 50/50 split? Or does it not mater at all? Let's take a look.

Give Lane the reps - Development matters

Lane Johnson may be missing the first four games but he's still the long term starter. If all goes well, he's projected to start and play during the 12 (or more) remaining games in the Eagles 2014 campaign. That's 75% (or more) of the season. Johnson, who was billed as a raw but talented prospect when Philadelphia drafted him, is only 24 and heading into his second year as an Eagle. The additional repetitions are more useful for a developing player such as Johnson as opposed to a veteran like Allen Barbre. Even more so when you figure that Johnson won't be able to spend time at the Eagles facility from August 29th until a month later on September 29th.

Barbre deserves the reps - Continuity is key

30-year old backup offensive lineman Allen Barbre will likely be Lane Johnson's replacement for the first four games. The benefit of Barbre taking the first team reps is that he gets a chance to build chemistry and cohesion with the other Eagles starters. Barbre may only be playing in the first four games but a strong start is critical. Else, the remaining 12 games will spent by the Eagles trying to dig themselves out of a hole (kind of like how the 2013 season went). Of course, not all of the Eagles success in the first four games will depend on Barbre... but it's part of the equation.

50/50 split - Best of both worlds

Why not settle in the middle? There are valid points on both sides. Unless you're hung up on that Barbre is stealing Johnson's "development" reps or Johnson is stealing Barbre's "chemistry" reps.

Who cares - It doesn't matter

Maybe we're just over-thinking all of this. Maybe it doesn't really matter who takes the snaps. The Eagles tend to mix and match different lineups in practice at times anyway. Also consider that the offensive line drills can be somewhat limited when defensive lineman/linebackers/etc. aren't allowed to go full force to sack the quarterback. As far as preseason goes, players aren't always trying their hardest as if it were a real game.

The verdict

My take is that Johnson deserves a majority of the repetitions. He's young and he projects to be the long-term player. Barbre is a veteran and he'll be fine without significant extra time. Perhaps the Eagles could do some kind of split where Johnson takes the majority but Barbre takes more than he usually would. Something like 75-25? 60-40?

I included a poll below so you can vote for your choice. This is a situation I'll be monitoring closely in training camp (and I'm sure other reporters will be too). What say you?

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