Head coach Chip Kelly opened up his first press conference of this year's Training Camp by announcing that Allen Barbre will work with the first-team offense at right tackle as training sessions begin as the team prepares for when Lane Johnson is suspended for the first four games of the regular season.
"We've got to prepare for our first four games, so we've got to get the guy who is going to be the starting right tackle for the first four games in there," Kelly said.
Kelly understands at the same time that Johnson, last year's first-round pick, still needs to continue to develop.
"He'll get reps, but they won't be with the first team right now," Kelly said.
The NFL announced on Wednesday that Johnson will miss the first four games after violating the league's policy regarding performance-enhancing substances. The Eagles' open the season at home against Jacksonville, then travel to Indianapolis before hosting Washington and going back on the road to face the San Francisco 49ers.
Johnson can participate in Training Camp and the preseason, but is not allowed to be with the team once the suspension begins. He will be eligible to play in Week 5 against the St. Louis Rams.
"We'll see," Kelly responded when asked how Johnson will adjust upon his return. "The ball's in his court in a lot of these situations."
The Eagles extended Barbre's during the offseason, but Kelly said that the deal was in the works before Johnson notified the team that he could have been suspended. In fact, Kelly intimated that Barbre was going to push for an increase in playing time during Training Camp.
"We think Allen's an integral part to what we're doing," Kelly said. "We really wanted to make sure we kept him here."
Barbre is a seventh-year veteran who signed with the Eagles in the 2013 offseason. He filled in for left tackle Jason Peters and performed well in the victory at Green Bay. Kelly explained that the biggest transition for Barbre will be adjusting to the right side of the line after spending most of his time working as a guard and a tackle on the left side.
"He's big. He's physical. He's really, really strong-handed," Kelly said of Barbre. "When he gets his hands on people, he can really move people. He's got a great understanding. He's got a great flexibility in terms of being a guard, tackle for us."