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Lane Johnson talks potential Brandon Brooks return, Carson Wentz’s weight gain, his COVID experience, more

Hear from the Eagles’ right tackle.

Oakland Raiders v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Lane Johnson was one of the players the Philadelphia Eagles made virtually available to reporters on Sunday afternoon. The team’s starting right tackle had a number of noteworthy things to say.

Brandon Brooks might return earlier than expected?

Brooks suffered a season-ending Achilles injury back in mid-June. But perhaps the Eagles’ starting right guard won’t be required to miss the entire season after all?

Johnson is obviously no medical expert but he’s close with Brooks and he said he could definitely see his teammate returning before the 2020 campaign is over.

Now, how realistic is that? Let’s go back to when Brooks suffered his other Achilles injury back in mid-January 2019. The Pro Bowl blocker was able to avoid beginning training camp — which started in late July — on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He was then able to start against Washington in Week 1.

If Brooks sees a similar speedy recovery, maybe he could be ready to return at some point very late in the regular season or the 2021 NFL playoffs?

It’s difficult to merely count on that happening. But the Eagles aren’t ruling out the possibility. They notably placed Brooks on the PUP list as opposed to injured reserve.

For what it’s worth, Brooks is out of his boot and seems to be doing well in rehab.

Brooks also hinted that he’s not entirely counting himself out for the 2020 season.

In the meantime, the Eagles are planning to move forward with Jason Peters at right guard.

There’s no need to rush Brooks back, especially if the Peters experiment works out and the offensive line is playing well. But if there’s room for Brooks and it’s safe for him to play, well, it’d obviously be great to have him back out there.

Carson Wentz’s weight gain

Jason Kelce previously joked about Carson Wentz gaining “dad strength.” Johnson also used the term “dad bod weight” to describe how the Eagles’ starting quarterback has bulked up.

Johnson specifically said that Wentz is now up to 250 pounds. It’s unclear if he knows Wentz weighs precisely that much or if he was just estimating. Either way, it’s significant to note because Wentz is listed at 237 on the Eagles’ official roster page.

Wentz did show to training camp looking big.

More bulk for Andre Dillard, too

Johnson also said that the Eagles’ projected starting left tackle is up between 325 and 330 pounds after being around 310 as a rookie. Brooks had previously shared something similar about Dillard earlier this offseason.

Johnson added that Dillard is a special athlete and the more he plays, the better he’s going to be.

Eagles players and coaches alike have made a clear effort to gas up Dillard when being asked about him. Here’s hoping the hype is real because the Birds are really counting on him to protect Wentz’s blindside.

Dealing with COVID

Johnson began training camp on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the coronavirus. He said he experienced some symptoms such as chills and was really bored while having to remain away from the team. Johnson was cleared to return to the NovaCare Complex earlier this week on August 11.