Eagles tackle Lane Johnson will start Week 1 if his suspension has not started yet, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters today, including Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com (Twitter link). There had been some thought that Philadelphia would hold Johnson out even if his ban hadn’t been announced, but that apparently will not happen.
Johnson is facing a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy, but even though the ban was reported weeks ago, the NFL still hasn’t made the suspension official. Meanwhile, Johnson has said that he’ll appeal any suspension that is announced, so it’s possible that he’d be able to play Week 1 while the appeal process was underway.
If the Eagles are without Johnson for more than half the season, it would be a crushing blow to their O-Line and offense as a whole. Johnson, the fourth overall pick in 2013, has been a starter for the Eagles since the team drafted him out of Oklahoma, playing primarily at right tackle before spending some time at left tackle in 2015. In his three years with the Eagles, he has only missed four games due to his aforementioned PED suspension. This past season, Pro Football Focus ranked Johnson 24th among offensive tackles, out of 81 qualified players at the position.
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