On Monday, rookie first round draft pick Lane Johnson benefitted from the absence of Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters being absent from the team practice. The current starting right tackle Dennis Kelly was moved over to Peters’ left tackle spot and Johnson got the chance to play as the first team right tackle.
Johnson hit the ground running and had a solid day in the rain and mud. “I just came out here today and they told me I was with the ones, Johnson said after practice. “So that’s who I went with. So, I just went out there and played.”
I like his competitiveness. He’s not awed by anybodyt, but at times you could see that he needs to be more patient and not so anxious and aggressive. I was impressed with the fact that he realized that when practice was through.
“They’ve been playing a lot, so they have a lot of moves up their sleeve and they’ll break it out on you when you least expect it, Johnson said about going against NFL pass rushers. “So you’ve got to be disciplined with your technique.”
“You just got to know when to hold back and know when to let go, you’ve got to know when to use the right tools at the right time.”
The game’s best offensive linemen are all very good counter puncher. They let the defensive pass rusher make the first move and then they counter, but they don’t go for a knockout. When the rushers reach to grab a shoulder, the good offensive linemen slap his hand down, but don’t get caught lunging forward.
Like a good boxer they don’t get caught with all their weight and momentum leaning forward. A fighter will have his chin sticking out if he gets caught lunging forward and risk being knocked out, while offensive linemen will be susceptible to an arm over move, if they get caught lunging forward.
Johnson who is doing a good job so far in getting better daily, is learning that his best technique is to use his long reach to keep the pass rushers off of him with a good jab with one hand or jabs with both hands. You don’t have to knock the pass rusher out, just keep him off the quarterback.
“Trying to use my hands more, trying to not start grabbing, trying to be more forceful with my hands, punching”, the rookie said when asked where does he need to make the most improvement.
He has noticed a difference in NFL pass rushers as compared to guys in college. “Probably stronger, Johnson said about NFL pass rushers in comparison to college rushers. “College and Pro’s pretty much the same quickness. Maybe the Pro’s a little quicker. You’ve can definitely feel the strength difference.
The Eagles don’t have to ask Johnson to get in the weight room and work because the young man’s work ethic is one of his biggest assets. His work ethic and upside are two of the major reasons they felt comfortable drafting him in such a high spot.