May 26, 2018
Talk to Lane Johnson today, and you really wouldn't be able to tell he is four months removed from winning a Super Bowl title.
Part of that is just the assumed mentality of a professional athlete — having a short memory is integral. The best way to get over a tough loss is to focus on the next game. But the other part of that is just Lane being Lane. He thrives when he's being disrespected, questioned or challenged.
The dog-mask wearing first-team All-Pro right tackle likes to be contrarian but also likes to prove himself. Last year was a bounce-back season after missing 10 games due to a PED suspension. Next season, he wants to do it all over again.
"If you want to sit back and think everything is made for you that's when you get exposed," Johnson said last week as the Eagles opened OTAs. "I want to go out there and be the best tackle I can."
The following exchange occurred last Tuesday between a reporter, Johnson, and locker room neighbor (and neighbor on the Eagles offensive line) Brandon Brooks:
Reporter: What is your personal goal for the 2018 season?
Johnson: I am trying to be the best tackle in the league.
Brooks: Trying or are you?
Johnson: It's up to people to watch the film.
Brooks: I am ready to say you're the best tackle in the league.
Johnson: That’s your opinion. The results will speak for themselves. I have had a lot of people fuel me.
Johnson still likes to take the underdog mentality, even though the Eagles are Super Bowl champions. And he's not satisfied with the success of last year.
"It felt good for about a month and then the feeling goes away," Johnson said. "It was shorter, usually you have four months to recover but I am happy to be back with the guys."
Zach Ertz, who often lines up next to Johnson on the offensive line at tight end feels the same way about the extremely short offseason — with the Eagles playing for five more weeks than they did last year (not to mention all the hooplah that comes with winning the Super Bowl).
"It was a whirlwind," Ertz said. "It was short. Typically my wife and I take a vacation at the end of the year but with my season and her season we didn’t have much time to be together. The body is still coming back to you, you played five extra weeks, I think Doug [Pederson] is doing a great job of maintaining the focus and intensity knowing when to push us and when to hold us back.
"Everyone is dealing with something. You just have to know we have shortened amount of time, no one really cares that the Philadelphia Eagles played five extra weeks."
Johnson seems to be very healthy, well rested, motivated and steadfast in his belief that the Eagles' window is currently wide open and waiting to be cashed in yet again. Jason Peters is expected to be healthy as the offensive line will return intact this season. Most of the important pieces are back as well, with free agent and draft pick signings bolstering a team that will surely be very much on the radar during the upcoming season.
"Not to be cocky or arrogant but we want to press the envelope and maximize what we have here and if we do that we will win a lot of ball games," Johnson, who turned 28 earlier in May, said. "I think its really about our mind set. If people want to say we have a target on our back that’s fine, as O-lineman we are always in attack mode."
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