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Lane Johnson OUT, Jordan Mailata will play in Eagles vs. Panthers

So, what will the starting offensive line look like?

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Nick Sirianni met with the media on Friday afternoon and offered some updates on Philadelphia Eagles player availability for this week’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Sirianni said that Lane Johnson will NOT be suiting up on Sunday. Johnson missed the entire week of practice due to a “personal matter.” John Clark offered some a little more insight on this situation:

It’s pretty unusual for a player to miss multiple games due to an undisclosed personal situation. In any case, everyone hopes that he will be ready to rejoin the team in a good state of mind in the near future.

Sirianni also confirmed that Jordan Mailata WILL play despite the fact he’s been limited in practice this week. Mailata is making his way back from a knee injury he suffered two weeks ago. He’s been donning a big brace on his right leg.

With Johnson out and Mailata back, one must wonder how the Eagles will configure their starting offensive line for this week’s game. There are two likely possibilities.

OFFENSIVE LINE SITUATION 1

Left tackle — Andre Dillard
Left guard — Landon Dickerson
Center — Jason Kelce
Right guard — Jack Driscoll
Right tackle — Jordan Mailata

The guess here is that this is the setup the Eagles will use against the Panthers.

The biggest point of contention is moving a less-than-100% Mailata out of position to play right tackle. The duo of him and Dillard will face a tough challenge going up against Panthers pass rushers Brian Burns and Haason Reddick.

Mailata does have some experience at right tackle. He actually played 177 snaps there during the 2019 preseason. He also played 87 snaps at right tackle in 2020, though his last time playing that position was limited to five snaps in November last year.

Mailata’s bulk of experience, as we know, has come at left tackle. He’s logged 768 regular season snaps and 135 preseason snaps at his mainstay spot.

Though there’s a case to be made this projected lineup isn’t the Eagles’ best combination to help them win in Week 5, it’s one that could be worth using for the sake of long-term evaluation. If Dillard looks good at left tackle and if Mailata succeeds on the right, the Eagles could have an eventual in-house replacement for Johnson.

But those are big “ifs.” We’ll likely see how this group performs on Sunday.

OFFENSIVE LINE SITUATION 2

Left tackle — Jordan Mailata
Left guard — Landon Dickerson
Center — Jason Kelce
Right guard — Nate Herbig
Right tackle — Jack Driscoll

The argument here is that this is the best lineup to help the Eagles win on Sunday. Having Mailata play out of position while injured might not be setting him up to succeed. Not to mention if he has to leave the game early, it causes the Eagles to shift multiple spots with Driscoll moving out to tackle and Herbig coming in at guard. As opposed to just having Dillard come in for Mailata as a one-for-one replacement.

Also, the idea that “Dillard is actually good!” is a bit much to believe just yet. He certainly hasn’t been an issue the past two weeks; that much is true. But he’s also drawn unusually favorable matchups. The Cowboys’ defensive line was depleted (notably no DeMarcus Lawrence) to the point where they were using a 240-pound linebacker (Micah Parsons) at defensive end. The Chiefs were missing Frank Clark and and have one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL, as evidenced by how dreadful their defense is. Dillard is fortunate to not have to face a true power rusher this week (assuming he plays) but Burns and Reddick should be more of a test than what he’s faced thus far. There’s value in seeing how he fares against tougher competition, to be sure, but not at the point where it’s jeopardizing the starting quarterback’s health.

WHAT SAY YOU?

Which lineup do you prefer?

Poll

Which OL configuration should the Eagles use?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    OL1 (Mailata at RIGHT tackle)
    (464 votes)
  • 74%
    OL2 (Mailata at LEFT tackle)
    (1382 votes)
1846 votes total Vote Now

Regardless of which option the Eagles choose, they’ll be using their third starting OL combo in five games. It’s an undesirable trend that’s carried over from last year. An overview:

Week 1 — LT Jordan Mailata, LG Isaac Seumalo, C Jason Kelce, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Lane Johnson

Week 2 — LT Jordan Mailata, LG Isaac Seumalo, C Jason Kelce, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Lane Johnson

Week 3 — LT Andre Dillard, LG Isaac Seumalo, C Jason Kelce, RG Landon Dickerson, RT Lane Johnson

Week 4 — LT Andre Dillard,, LG Landon Dickerson, C Jason Kelce, RG Nate Herbig, RT Jack Driscoll

Week 5 — ?