Lane Johnson getting healthy, ready to get Eagles' OL on track in 2021

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The 2020 season was a miserable one for Lane Johnson.

Not only did the Eagles have a disastrous 4-11-1 season that led to the firing of their Super Bowl-winning head coach and kicked off a rebuilding phase, but Johnson struggled mightily to stay on the field because of an ailing ankle that has been bothering him for years.

Eventually, Johnson shut down his season in late November and then had another surgery that he hopes will finally fix the problem.

“Ankle’s good, man,” Johnson said last week to John Clark in an interview that aired on NBC10’s Philly Live: Sports on Sunday evening.

“I’m right around the corner from running. I’m feeling explosive again, strong. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the workouts. I think we’re supposed to start around mid-April sometime. We’re all getting tired of sitting in the house. I think we’re all ready to get back and start lifting, start training, start doing football stuff.”

With the news that Jason Kelce is returning for the 2021 season, the Eagles’ offensive line might be a real strength if it can stay healthy. Last year, the Eagles used 14 different offensive line combinations in 16 games and the entire offense was out of whack.

Johnson played just seven games last season, Isaac Seumalo played just nine, while Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard missed the entire season. And Jason Peters was also in and out of the lineup.

In the last few years, Johnson and Brooks have dealt with several injuries. Brooks has reportedly come up in trade discussions but it still seems likely he’s back in 2021.

“It eats away [at] me just knowing where we’re at in our careers,” Johnson said. “I think staying healthy, I feel like we’re tough to beat as a right tackle-right guard tandem. …. When we’re together, man, we really amplify each other. I feed off of him as much as he feeds off of me.”

If Brooks and Johnson are healthy in 2021, the Eagles’ offensive line could end up being quite good. We’ll see what happens in the competition between Dillard and Jordan Mailata, but this is how it’s shaping up:

LT: Dillard/Mailata

LG: Seumalo

C: Kelce

RG: Brooks

RT: Johnson

There are some obvious question marks about Johnson’s and Brooks’ health and a question about that left tackle spot, but the potential is there for this unit to be among the best in the league again this coming season. And it doesn’t hurt that the Eagles retained offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland under new head coach Nick Sirianni.

Johnson, 30, has been dealing with his ankle injury dating back to the 2018 season. So he’s just hoping this latest surgery will put this issue to rest.

“I’m tired of missing games due to injury,” he said. “In football it happens but I’m ready to play. I miss playing football, I miss competing. That’s really been my life. I love being around the guys, I love being around the coaches. I love football, man, I love everything about it. I’m lucky to have played eight years, going into my ninth year and really in a place like Philly, where not a lot of people have long careers. I’m very fortunate, I’m very happy with the guys I’ve played with. I’m just ready for things to kind of normalize and get back into the swing of things.”

With the report that the Eagles will make Jalen Hurts their quarterback in 2021, the Eagles will need a good offensive line in front of him to maximize his talent.

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