Lane Johnson is down in Dallas co-hosting the Offensive Line Masterminds conference with former offensive line coach Duke Manyweather. It’s a chance for some of the brightest young offensive linemen to get together and work on technique, similar to what Von Miller did when he started his pass-rushing summit. Luminaries Kevin Mawae and Walter Jones join contemporaries like Zack Martin, Andrew Whitworth and Johnson for a skills camp.
Johnson took some time out Monday to talk to “NFL Total Access” and reflect on the upcoming Eagles season. Everyone is expecting big things for Philadelphia and the veteran right tackle clued everyone in on the expectations in the locker room, specifically as they pertain to Carson Wentz. Johnson admitted he sees a different quarterback, one that is in a totally “different mental state” than in previous years.
“Everyday when I walk in the building, all I see is him in there before everybody else. Rehabbing, doing whatever it takes. I just think he’s in a different mental state than he’s ever been in terms of training and ignoring distractions and really trying to be the best player he is,” Johnson said, via Yahoo Sports! “I just see a hard worker and a guy who is about to do some big things this season.”
The self-admitted trash talker — for better or worse — concentrated on the positives when addressing the season ahead, choosing to hype up the Eagles rookies and finally put to rest the underdog role the team rode to a Super Bowl. This team is focused on establishing a new identity and they are stronger for it.
“New identity for us,” Johnson said. “Last year was a good learning curve for us as we struggled, it kind of looked like the playoffs were out of reach and we somehow found a way despite all our injuries and everything that took place. I feel like we’re stronger because of it now and really a stronger team. I think we made a lot of good decisions [in the offseason] on who we have and we’re right where we need to be.”
The Eagles, of course, added DeSean Jackson and Jordan Howard on offense, while stacking their defensive line with Malik Jackson. The team also drafted Miles Sanders, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and left tackle Andre Dillard. The rookie is being groomed to replace Jason Peters and already turning heads.
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“Andre is a very dynamic individual. Watching him the first thing that pops out is his footwork and his athleticism,” Johnson said. “And I trust that he’ll be one of the premier ones here in a few years, once he gets his learning curve under his belt.”
Johnson also praised the impending return of injured guard Brandon Brooks. He is expected to be ready for training camp and on the field for the season opener. He was on a side field getting some reps in during the Eagles’ mandatory minicamp.
“I see a very mature team,” Johnson said. “The O-line is getting back from injuries. Brandon Brooks is coming back. He was a big-time player. Personally, I think he was one of the best guards in the league. That’s my opinion.”