When the Philadelphia Eagles hired head coach Chip Kelly, everyone understood that the team was going to get more athletic in a hurry. Kelly’s offense is predicated on the concepts of rhythm, tempo and quick strikes. ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth often jokes that Kelly’s offense gains tons of yards rushing but the line doesn’t actually block anyone.
We all understand that’s said partly in jest, but he’s not completely wrong from a purely technical standpoint. The job of the line is often misdirection. Get the defense to commit one way, and then run the other. It’s elegant and beautiful to watch, and I look forward to seeing it in the NFL.
So Kelly’s first move was to use the fourth overall pick to select left tackle Lane Johnson. Johnson came on like gangbusters last season as his athletic play and raw potential kept showing up on film more and more as the season went on. NFL head coaches drool over a player with a ceiling like Johnson, but as I pointed out in his scouting report, his game isn’t without concerns.
So as the Eagles’ training camp approaches, there are plenty of things to keep an eye on.
Johnson is inked in as the starting right tackle, a strange situation in itself as he is one of three top-five tackle picks who will all likely end up starting on the right side rather than the more glamorous left side during their rookie seasons. In training camp, the real keys for Johnson could be adjusting to playing on the right side, which is harder than it seems.
Johnson is also going to have to adjust to an entirely new offense from the Air Raid offense he blocked in while at Oklahoma. I don’t have any doubt Johnson can pick everything up, but it’s going to take time, so pairing the changes up with his inexperience, don’t be shocked if his rookie season is filled with ups and downs. The right tackle job is his, and he’s not likely to lose it considering the rest of the talent on the roster , but I suspect his transition will be rocky.