Two Important Eagles Players Shut Down for Rest of Preseason

Lane Johnson

Getty Eagles tackle Lane Johnson

Two key cogs on the Philadelphia Eagles offense have been ruled out for the remainder of the preseason. Lane Johnson and Dallas Goedert are both dealing with leg injuries — Johnson has a knee injury and Goedert aggravated his calf. Both players are considered day-to-day and neither injury is considered serious.

However, the Eagles have decided to rest them before the regular-season opener. Johnson is the team’s starting right tackle and one of the best in the business. If he were to miss any significant time, the job would be turned over to Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Goedert is the second tight end, behind Zach Ertz, but the Eagles have planned big things for the tall target. He was supposed to be a key weapon in their 12 personnel packages, especially in the red zone.

Johnson is entering his seventh season in the NFL after the Eagles took him with the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, while Goedert was a high second-round pick (49th overall) in 2018. Goedert was hurt at some point during Thursday night’s preseason opener against Tennessee, a game where he showed great promise in pulling down three balls for 50 yards. Johnson didn’t play in the first preseason game, so it’s a little unclear when he injured his knee.

Ronald Darby Participates in Team Drills

Starting cornerback Ronald Darby finally took the field in team drills during Saturday morning’s practice in South Philadelphia. Darby, who is rehabbing from last year’s season-ending ACL tear, was out on the field in 7-on-7 drills and covering wide receivers. Darby even made a nice play tracking the ball down the sideline while covering Nelson Agholor. The Eagles expect Darby to start at cornerback in Week1 against Washington, opposite either Sidney Jones or Avonte Maddox as Jalen Mills continues to deal with a nagging foot injury.

Lane Johnson One of the Best in Football

Lane Johnson may have had an “off year” by his standards in 2018, but the 29-year-old was still a force to be reckoned with and stabilizing force for the Eagles. He graded out nicely in Pro Football Focus’ end-of-year rankings, cracking the Top 25 after not allowing a single pressure in two of his last four games.

He ranked No. 9 on Pro Football Focus’ list of the best offensive tackles in football, too. The stat-driven website praised his run-blocking and graded him out at 84.7 overall for the past three seasons.

According to Pro Football Focus:

Though Johnson did earn a career-low run-blocking grade (74.4) a year ago, he’s proven in years past that he’s more than worthy of a spot on this list. His three-year run-blocking grade (84.7) ranks inside the top-five among qualifiers, and his 79.9 pass-blocking grade in the same three-year span (2016-18) ranks inside the top-20.

Remember, Johnson was battling a Grade 2 MCL tear and high ankle sprain in his left leg for a good chunk of the 2018 season and was just trying to get to the finish line. Johnson wouldn’t blame the injuries for his performance, but it certainly put him at less than 100 percent.

“That’s the game,” Johnson told reporters, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “The only thing that counts is I just wanted to be there for my team. Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose. Obviously, there are some plays you’d like to have back, but moving forward is the best you can do.”

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