The Philadelphia Eagles’ rushing attack in 2021 has been historically dominant. The hogs up front are just pushing guys around like bullies on the playground. Truthfully, it’s been unfair.
Every opponent knows what’s coming. And they still can’t stop it. Center Jason Kelce called it the best ground game he’s witnessed during his 11-year career in midnight green. Right tackle Lane Johnson agreed with Kelce, then divulged why the team has been so good at running the football. The reason wears No. 1 on his chest.
“I think Jalen Hurts,” Johnson told reporters. “You have a guy that dynamic, can do what he can do with his legs, it puts the defenses in a bind. So I’d say, he’s the common denominator when it comes down to that.”
The Eagles are 160 yards away from setting a new single-season record for team rushing. They have accumulated 2,448 yards in 15 games so far this season. The franchise record stands at 2,607 yards, set way back in 1949.
“It would mean a lot,” Johnson said of breaking the record. “Obviously you gotta execute, but a big reason behind this is Jalen and the O-line, it’s everybody together. I think Coach Stout [Jeff Stoutland] deserves a lot of credit, just whatever’s he’s been able to do for the past decade. With guys injured or coming in and out, and the next guy stepping in, and the way he coaches and just the way he goes about his business.”
Considering they gashed the Washington Football Team for 238 yards on December 21, that record should fall this weekend. The Eagles are averaging 163.2 yards per game, plus they have rushed for at least 125 yards in nine straight contests.
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Hurts’ Ankle Not Bothering Him
Hurts has been killing teams with his legs all year, so it was surprising to see him rush only two times for seven yards in Week 16. The dual-threat quarterback was probably limited from the high ankle sprain that caused him to miss one game, right? That’s not the case, according to Hurts. His ankle is fine.
“It feels fine,” Hurts said. “Been good enough for us to get two wins.”
Head coach Nick Sirianni doubled down on Hurts’ health, adding that there are no restrictions on him.
“We have don’t have restrictions on him anymore,” Sirianni said. “He’s feeling better every day, what he tells me. He’s getting better every day.”
Johnson Sounds Off on Missing Pro Bowl
Johnson and left tackle Jordan Mailata were both snubbed from the Pro Bowl. It seems kind of odd for the top rushing attack in the NFL to only have one player (Jason Kelce) from their offensive line heading to the All-Star game. The entire locker room has rallied around Johnson’s slight, one that made him justifiably upset.
“I was pissed. I’ll leave it at that,” Johnson said. “I was really pissed. But as far as that, it just motivates me, whatever is left of the season.”
The veteran right tackle knows why he wasn’t picked. Johnson sat out three games early in the year to deal with mental health issues and depression. He helped a lot of people by becoming a vocal advocate for the disease, but it cost him a Pro Bowl nod.
“I think it did a lot of good for a lot of people,” Johnson said. “For me, I don’t know if it did.”
To clarify, Johnson was talking about on the field. Off the field, he declared: “I’m the best version of myself now.”