Lane Johnson faced the first adversity of his young professional career as a Philadelphia Eagle last Saturday night. He was beaten a few times on a speed rush by former Eagle Jason Babin.
The big fella looked frustrated by this development in what has otherwise been a near perfect preseason for Johnson. The important factor was how he responded. After Johnson got a feel for Babin’s moves and what he brought to the table, he totally shut the veteran down for the rest of the first half. It was highly impressive to see the young man adjust on the fly and effectively take a pass rushing weapon like Babin out of the game.
These are the types of ups and downs you can expect from a rookie offensive lineman who has only played the position for three full years. The key for Johnson is going to be correcting mistakes on the fly and not letting them happen over and over again.
So far Johnson, even as a rookie, has graded out as one of the highest rated performers along the offensive line. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has done a masterful job at teaching Johnson hand placement and proper technique. Johnson’s feet are already superb. He moves with the quickness and agility of a tight end at the tackle spot, something rare in a man his size.
Once the proper hand technique and placement comes he can certainly be a dominant and All-Pro offensive lineman in this league. With the tandem of Johnson and Jason Peters comes a flashback of the Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan days. With these two bookend tackles, the Eagles once again have the makings of a dominant offensive line.