It looks like the Philadelphia Eagles might be without Lane Johnson again this weekend.
Despite reportedly returning to Philly on Wednesday, the Eagles’ starting right tackle did not attend the team’s Thursday practice. Derrick Gunn also shared the following intel on 97.5 The Fanatic:
For those unaware, Gunn seems to have a pretty close relationship with the subject here. Johnson has made multiple appearances on Gunn’s podcast.
The nature of Johnson’s absence still isn’t clear. The Eagles have been reluctant to provide any details, only referring to the situation as a “personal matter.”
For what it’s worth, Crossing Broad’s Kevin Kinkead shared what he’s hearing from his “Eagles mystery source.” This same source has provided a number of scoops in the past (examples: here, here, and here), so it might be worth paying attention to.
If we’re to assume that Johnson indeed won’t be available against the Panthers, well, that’s not the best news for Philly. The Eagles’ offensive line made due against the Chiefs in Week 4 but KC has one of the worst pass rushes and defenses in the NFL. The Panthers, by contrast, have a much more formidable unit headlined by Brian Burns and Haason Reddick.
The Eagles have multiple options at right tackle if Johnson isn’t going to play.
1) If Jordan Mailata is healthy enough to play, the Eagles can start him at right tackle and keep Andre Dillard at left tackle.
2) If Mailata can play, the Eagles can have him replace Dillard at left tackle and start Jack Driscoll at right tackle.
3) If Mailata CAN’T play, the Eagles can have Dillard stay at left tackle and put Driscoll at right tackle with Nate Herbig playing right guard again. Same lineup as last week.
It typically takes a lot for Johnson not to play so, as DGunn suggested, maybe he’ll force his way onto the field. If not, though, the Eagles will have to try to get by without him in a crucial game.