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August 13, 2016

Eagles training camp notes, Day 15: First look at shuffled offensive line

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Lane Johnson and the Philadelphia Eagles seem to feel fairly sure that Johnson will indeed receive a lengthy suspension from the NFL for a second failed test for performance enhancing drugs.

And so, the Eagles will have to figure out a way to work around Johnson's likely absence. Today, we got our first glimpse at what they are thinking. Here's how the Eagles' first team offensive line looked today:

 Jason PetersIsaac Seumalo Jason Kelce Stefen Wisniewski Allen Barbre 

It appears that the Eagles have their sights set on moving Allen Barbre out to RT to replace Johnson, with someone coming off the bench to play LG. Although Isaac Seumalo filled in today at LG, my guess is that it will be free agent acquisition Stefen Wisniewski who would be inserted in as the starter there. Starting RG Brandon Brooks left practice early today as a precautionary measure in today's extreme heat, as he previously missed time with a hamstring injury. Wisniewski filled in at RG, but in my view, he would be the first guy off the bench if he were to fill in at any of the three interior OL spots.

• Johnson was demoted to the second team offense while the Eagles tried out their first new combination among the first teamers.

• This offseason, as Mike Mayock explained during the preseason game telecast Thursday night, the Eagles signed three wide receivers who were former high-middle round picks, hoping that at least one could produce this season.

  1. Reuben Randle (former second-round pick of the Giants): I hope this doesn't sound like hyperbole, but Randle had one of the laziest performances from a professional athlete Thursday night that I've ever seen.
  2. T.J. Graham (former third-round pick of the Bills) isn't good.
  3. Chris Givens (former fourth-round pick of the Rams) left practice today with what looked like a shoulder injury.

In the first preseason game, Randle, Graham and Givens combined for one catch and three yards on seven targets.

• One receiver who I believe deserves to make the team is undrafted free agent Paul Turner, who has had a very good camp, and has outplayed most of the veteran wide receivers.

• Jason Peters got a decent number of reps today. Watching him own guys like Marcus Smith and Bryan Braman is comical.

• If the Eagles sustain an injury to one of their linebackers, I believe that Najee Goode can fill in and play well. He has quietly had a very good camp. After that, the Eagles could be in trouble, although it's worth noting that rookie seventh-round pick Joe Walker played well in the first preseason game.

• Taylor Hart is another guy who did some nice things in the first preseason game. He blew up a play in the backfield for a loss today in practice.

• During goal line drills, I though Kenjon Barner had a soft run that was stopped short when other backs might have gotten in. For example, did you see the way Ryan Mathews ran with power in the red zone Thursday night? I don't think Barner has that in his game.

• Remember when the speculation was that Darren Sproles would (should) play more of a wide receiver role under Chip Kelly, and then it didn't happen all that often. I think it will under Doug Pederson. With such a lackluster group of receivers, it almost has to. Today Sproles toasted Nigel Bradham on a wheel route, and Bradford had no choice but to blatantly commit pass interference.

• One of my favorite sleepers in Eagles camp is Dillon Gordon, who has lined up at LT, FB, and TE. Today the Eagles put him in at FB in a goal line situation, and he blew up LB Quentin Gause. If we're really going to reach, one silver lining to Lane Johnson's suspension is that there may be an extra spot on the 53 for a guy like Dillon, who has done enough to earn a roster spot, in my view.

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