The Philadelphia Eagles are going to keep Lane Johnson at right tackle and NOT move him to left tackle despite the fact Jason Peters suffered a season-ending injury on Monday night.
Multiple reports indicate Johnson is staying at his usual starting position with Halapoulivaati Vaitai taking over for Peters on the left side.
Even tho Doug Pederson said they'll look at all options i'm told in all probability Lane Johnson stays RT and LT tackle will be determined— Derrick Gunn (@RealDGunnNBCS) October 24, 2017
BTW, source now confirms — no switch for Lane https://t.co/ctIEay2P8N— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) October 26, 2017
The Eagles haven’t officially confirmed these reports just yet. Doug Pederson will be asked about it during his next press conference, which is set for Friday morning.
Keeping Johnson at right tackle makes sense for a few reasons.
Replacing Peters with Big V makes it so that the Eagles aren’t changing multiple spots on their offensive line. Johnson to left tackle with Big V to right would mean two changes. That could unnecessarily complicate things.
Another reason why keeping Johnson on the right side makes sense is that the Eagles are set to face a lot of productive pass rushers on that side of the line: Von Miller, Demarcus Lawrence, Khalil Mack, etc. Now, it’s not like the other team can’t just put their best pass rushers over Big V instead. But if another team is going to do that, it’s going to force them to move a player out of position and into a situation where they’ll likely be facing extra attention via chip block or double teams.
Johnson, meanwhile, ranks as the player who receives the least amount of blocking help. He’s doing a great job one-on-one.
NFL Tackles getting the least amount of help (Chips, Double teams etc.). Some may surprise you: (NFL Average = 29.2%) pic.twitter.com/UBSZWYUE9Y— Neil Hornsby (@PFF_Neil) October 25, 2017
The drop-off from Peters to Vaitai is obviously significant. Peters is quite simply one of the best left tackles to ever play the game. He’s a Hall of Famer.
Big V had big shoes to fill. He doesn’t need to be Peters; that would be unrealistic. But if he can just show competency on the left side, that could be enough to keep the Eagles’ hopes alive.
The good news is Vaitai has shown some positive signs so far.