Philadelphia Eagles

With Jason Peters re-signed, Lane Johnson again biding time at right tackle

With Jason Peters re-signed, Lane Johnson again biding time at right tackle

Lane Johnson figured he'd play a couple years, Jason Peters would retire, and he'd swing over from right tackle over to left tackle.

Now, Johnson is entering his fifth NFL season and that move seems no closer than when he got here.

"He may be 54 out there playing left tackle," Johnson said of Peters with a laugh. "He’s a different breed, man. He’s so big and strong, his body can do it. … 

"I might be over here my whole career, but I'm just going to make the best of it."

Peters probably won't play quite that long, but Johnson is an interesting position.

He was drafted as the Eagles' eventual left tackle, he believes he's a better left tackle than right tackle, and the contract extension he signed early last year pays him like a left tackle.

But Peters just won't retire.

Peters, 35, on Tuesday agreed to terms of a contract extension that shifts his future base salary into guaranteed money and makes it likely he'll be here for three more years (see story).

Johnson won't be 42 by 2019, but he will be 29 and going into his seventh season.

"I’m fine with it," Johnson said at his locker after minicamp practice on Wednesday. "Great player, been with the franchise a long time. I’ll probably end up right tackle this year, maybe one day he’ll end up going to guard, but he’ll play left tackle this year and I’ll play right. 

"But I’m just glad he’s here. Every day he’s here makes me a better player."

Head coach Doug Pederson suggested that the Eagles could move Peters to guard, presumably left guard, at some point in the future, and Peters said he's fine with that (see story).

Imagine Johnson at left tackle and Peters at left guard?

"Be like running behind a damn buffalo," Johnson said. "He’s just so big, man. So big and strong. Not many guys at 350 can run and move like he does."

But for now, Johnson is preparing for his fifth season at right tackle — he missed four games in 2014 and 10 games last year with NFL suspensions for a banned substance — and Peters is getting ready for his 14th NFL season and ninth with the Eagles.

Peters began his career as an undrafted tight end with the Bills before moving to tackle in his second season.

He's been to nine Pro Bowls and hasn't missed a Pro Bowl in a season he's played since 2006.

"I’ve got one of the best of all-time so I know if I can keep my play similar to his … I know I'm doing good," Johnson said. "From my first year to my second year is when I made the biggest jump as a player and it’s just knowledge. Stuff he’s experienced over the years. 

"He’s played a lot more players than I have. Gives me advice against guys I’m playing against. It’s just advice you don’t get anywhere else."

Johnson said he's happy playing right tackle, but he believes he's better suited to play left tackle.

"I think I’m better at left," Johnson said. "I’m a lot more fluid at left tackle. … I think I'm a better pass blocker on the left. I’ve gotten better on the right, but it’s just not as natural. I don’t know why. … Probably (because) having your strong hand inside so you’re able to be quick on your counter moves. I just feel quicker. I don’t know why.

“A lot of times they say the left tackle has great feet and the right tackle is less athletic. My deal was I got the best ever playing on left. One of the best ever. A Hall of Fame player. So I’ll bide my time till I’m over there. Just got stuck in a good situation for me."

Johnson is one positive test away from a two-year suspension, but he said his lawsuit against the NFL and the NFLPA to retroactively rescind the second suspension and re-guarantee contract money that became non-guaranteed upon his second suspension is still on course.

"It’s still ongoing, that’s all I can say," he said. "May be done sometime this year, but I really don’t know. Just kind of letting the lawyers do their thing and sit back and play football. 

"Sometimes these things take years. Hopefully, it gets solved before then but you really just don’t know. It’s just back and forth. Not much stuff has been resolved. Just going through paperwork."

Because of his suspensions, Johnson has missed 14 games — almost the equivalent of a full season.

He said his focus this year is playing 16 consistent games wherever he's lined up.

"I just want to go out there and show people what kind of tackle I am," he said. "I feel like I’m one of the best in the league and go out there and do a lot less talking and show people what I can do. 

"I want to be the best in the league this year. No ifs, ands or buts. … I’m not trying to get arrogant or anything, but you go watch the film. My deal is just stay on the field."

Source: Paul Turner out for another three weeks with fractured scapula

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Source: Paul Turner out for another three weeks with fractured scapula

Eagles receiver Paul Turner, who has been missing from Eagles practice since Aug. 2 with a shoulder injury, will be out for another three weeks. 

Turner's injury is more serious than previously thought. He actually has a fractured scapula, a league source told CSNPhilly.com. 

Turner, 24, initially made the Eagles' roster out of training camp last year but was cut when the team claimed Bryce Treggs off waivers. He then spent the first 10 games on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster. He ended up catching nine passes for 126 yards in four games as a rookie. 

During last year's training camp, Turner instantly became a fan favorite as a rookie out of Louisiana Tech. He shined in practices and then was the NFL's leading receiver last preseason with 17 catches that went for 165 yards. And he also had a tremendous one-handed grab. 

With another three weeks added to his recovery time, making this year's roster will be incredibly hard for Turner, who is buried on the depth chart. Three weeks will bring us right to the start of the regular season. 

Other players have been making a push for the final roster spot at receiver. Marcus Johnson, in particular, has shined this summer. 

The rise of Steven Means and his sack celebration of many names

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The rise of Steven Means and his sack celebration of many names

Some of Steven Means' teammates call his sack celebration The Hammer. Some say it's The Nail In the Coffin. Assistant defensive line coach Phillip Daniels calls it The Undertaker.

Means says he likes them all. 

"The Atomic Bomb," interjected fellow defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao, who was listening in from the next locker. "Because when it hits …" 

That might be the new leader in the clubhouse. 

Whatever it's called though, Means has been doing the emphatic celebration much more often in recent weeks. That's a good sign for the 27-year-old and his chances to make the Eagles' 53-man roster. 

In the Eagles' preseason opener, Means had a half sack. Last Thursday against his hometown Buffalo Bills, Means picked up two more.

And after each sack in games and in practice (yes, he does it in non-contact practices too), Means celebrates with what has become his hallmark. He first points both fingers toward the sky, "giving God the glory," before it looks like a surge of pure energy flows through his body, starting with his toes until he releases it with a leg kick and one swift downward chopping motion with his hands. 

Means started doing the celebration during OTAs last season. It wasn't something he planned — "It just happened," he said. But he liked it and has continued it since, including last season in the fourth quarter against the Vikings, when he picked up his first-career regular season sack. 

"I don't know," Means said smiling. "I'm just out there having fun, just trying to make plays. And keep doing [the celebration]. If I'm doing it, I know I'm doing the right thing." 

This training camp, Means is a part of an extremely deep group of defensive ends. Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry are the starters. Chris Long and Derek Barnett and next up. And then there's Means and last year's seventh-round pick Alex McCalister. There seems to be a chance that just one between Means and McCalister will make this year's team. 

Even though they're competing for a roster spot, Means doesn't really think about his fellow defensive ends as competition. His brain just doesn't work like that anymore. His only competition is the offensive linemen he faces during games. 

So when McCalister picked up a sack of his own Thursday night, Means looked even more pumped about it than he did. 

"Seeing us come from where we come from and being successful at this level, I'm ecstatic for anybody when they're out there making plays," Means said. "And if I'm out there with them, I'm probably going to be more excited than them every single time."

When the time comes for the coaching staff to decide on the 53-man roster, Means will have at least one advantage. During this training camp, he's worked at defensive end and has also taken some reps at defensive tackle. DT is a new position for Means but he's excited about adding some versatility to his résumé.  

"One of the big things we've done with Steven, obviously, he's gotten a few more opportunities," defensive line coach Chris Wilson said. "And he's taking full advantage of it. That's one thing he does consistently. He's physical, he's smart, he plays with a great motor. He's always in position to make plays and when he's had opportunities in the game."

Since entering the league as a fifth round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2013, Means has become somewhat of a journeyman in the NFL. He was with the Bucs, Ravens and Texans before joining the Eagles in December 2015. 

When he signed with the Eagles, he joined a coaching staff with Chip Kelly and Billy Davis that was on its last legs. Kelly was fired three weeks after Means got to Philadelphia and Davis was let go after the season. 

Then something great happened for Means. New head coach Doug Pederson brought on Jim Schwartz as his defensive coordinator and Means got a chance to play in an incredibly aggressive defense that allows defensive linemen to attack quarterbacks. 

"I'm just going to be 100 percent honest with you," Means said, "I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. Wherever Schwartz is, that's where I want to be."

Now entering his fifth NFL season, Means laughs thinking about how far he's come and about "how bad [he] probably was" as a rookie. Means finally looks like he's found a good spot in Philly. 

He's taken over the fourth quarters of both preseason games. In these two games, he has 2 1/2 sacks, 4 quarterback hits, 2 passes defensed, 2 tackles for loss and 4 combined tackles. 

Means has been filling up the stat sheet and turning heads along the way. 

"Letting God just play through me instead of trying to make something happen myself," said Means, who is vocal about his faith. "I'm a lot more comfortable and confident."

It shows every time he gets a sack and The Atomic Bomb hits.