News broke Monday afternoon that Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson will be suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. After losing a big part of their offense earlier in the offseason, this breaking news could have a bigger impact than the loss of DeSean Jackson.
While he is only going to have to miss the first four weeks of the 2014 season, this was an extremely inopportune time for Johnson to get suspended. After a solid rookie year, Johnson was and still is poised to take a step forward this upcoming season. Now, having to watch from the sidelines for the first few weeks, this will only delay his maturation process.
Philadelphia boasted one the best offensive lines in the NFL last season and still have potential to repeat that feat in 2014. However, a team is only as good as its offensive line, and the Eagles are already starting off the season at a disadvantage.
Allen Barbre is the candidate to take over for Johnson while he serves his suspension. Yes, Barbre did an admirable job in limited time last season, but being under the pressure to start games and play all the way through is no easy task.
Luckily for the Eagles, training camp has yet to begin, so they have time to get Barbre comfortable. However, as comfortable as he may get, that does not mean he will produce the way Johnson did. And if one player on the offensive line struggles, that easily could start a ripple effect that could be detrimental to a young, developing quarterback. And that’s a ripple effect this team can ill afford.