Lane Johnson reiterates New England Patriots criticism, Philadelphia Eagles OL misses top 10 and more
Lane Johnson #65 of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks to the media during Super Bowl Media Day at Xcel Energy Center on January 29, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. Super Bowl LII will be played between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Today’s Philadelphia Eagles links visit a beef that probably won’t settle down anytime soon and a glaring omission.
Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson went on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast earlier this month and delivered some of his thoughts on the New England Patriots as a “fear-based organization.” Predictably, that set off a mini-wave of controversy, and Johnson squared off with ESPN analyst and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi in a war of words about the Eagles and Patriots, who squared off in Super Bowl LII.
In a return appearance on Pardon My Take, Johnson stood by his comments on the “Patriot Way” and their success.
“Here’s the whole deal,” Johnson said, according to NESN. “I think a lot of guys just want to be happy playing football. … The Patriots obviously won five Super Bowls, so it’s the Patriot Way to win the Super Bowl. Does that mean that everybody has to act the same way? Do the same thing? Is that necessarily the guidelines to win the Super Bowl?”
Super Bowl LII presented a dichotomy in NFL teams. The Patriots, with the “Patriot Way,” are in lockstep with their messaging and presentation. Some might say coach Bill Belichick micromanages the team. The Eagles, meanwhile, featured a mesh of personalities — some boisterous, some not — led by a coach in Doug Pederson who gave off the appearance of a laid-back, players’ coach.
The NFL is a copycat league, and there’s been plenty of coaches — former Belichick assistants and others — who have tried to emulate the five-time Super Bowl coach. Distilled down to its essence, Johnson’s message seems to be that there’s more than one way to win a Super Bowl.
Elsewhere, the Eagles were able to find another slight against them after a playoff run filled with plenty. And this one came from the NFL’s official Twitter account.
NFL.com associate fantasy writer/editor Matt Harmon ranked the NFL’s 10 best offensive lines using “unique Next Gen States tracking data” from microchips in players’ shoulder pads. The two metrics Barmon used were “pressures” — “a pass-rushing play in which a defender gets within 2 yards of the opposing quarterback” and “yards gained before close” — “the amount of rushing yards a running back gains before opposing defenders come within 1 yard of the player.”
There was a notable omission from the list: the Eagles.
The Birds had a pair of All-Pros on the line in center Jason Kelce and Johnson at right tackle, while right guard Brandon Brooks made the Pro Bowl. Even though the left side of the line in the Super Bowl featured two players who began the season as backups, the Eagles offensive line earned top marks from Pro Football Focus.
Here’s Harmon’s explanation, and he said the Eagles fell outside of the top 20 in both Next Gen States categories:
The team did give up more pressure than most noticed in the first few months of the season, which made Carson Wentz’s excellence at escaping broken pockets and shaking off rushers all the more impressive. Additionally, subbing in Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle for an injured Jason Peters did prove to be a significant downgrade. The Eagles gave up 129 pressures from the left side of their offensive line, the third-most among any team in 2017.
There are, of course, an infinite number of ways to break down football, and this is Harmon’s vehicle of choice. PFF uses a different angle, while the eye test probably provides yet another evaluation. The Eagles, of course, noticed:
Oh. #underdogs https://t.co/HjUSgQpHLH
— Lane Johnson (@Lanejohnson65) February 17, 2018
[?] [?] [?] https://t.co/46veLfaS3T
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) February 17, 2018
The Eagles are slated to return all five starters from the Super Bowl — the future of left tackle Jason Peters, who missed half the season with a knee injury appears to be a little uncertain — so it will be worth watching what they do for an encore.
Here’s the rest of the day’s Eagles links:
This 10-year-old Eagles fan’s enthusiasm would make Jason Kelce proud