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Doug Pederson Explains The Decision To Keep Lane Johnson At Right Tackle


Lane Johnson will indeed stay put at right tackle, for now.

Halapoulavaati Vaitai lined up at left tackle during Thursday's practice, putting an end to speculation that Johnson might replace Jason Peters who is out for the year with an ACL and MCL tear. Johnson was pleased to stay on the right side although he knows the day will come when he will have to make the transition.

"I haven't had any reps (at left tackle) not to say I couldn't do it. I've done it before but the main thing is just keeping it consistent with it," Johnson said on Thursday. "When the time is right I'll move over there. As far as right now, I'm going to stay right here."

It's hard to argue with Johnson considering the success he's had on the right side. For instance, Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had his way with the Eagles last season coming away with 3.5 sacks in two Washington victories. Johnson played in neither of those games. In the two wins over the Redskins this season, Johnson held Kerrigan in check allowing just one sack as Carson Wentz and the Eagles scored at least 30 points in both contests.

"I think (right guard Brandon Brooks) and I are having a consistent year this year so I didn't want anyone to break that up," Johnson said. "And as far as people I'm going to be facing this backstretch, the best defensive linemen are going to be lining up with me."

Head coach Doug Pederson told Dave Spadaro on the Eagles Live podcast that he doesn't want to disrupt two positions.

"Right now, Lane is playing extremely well at right tackle and looking down the road, and I hate to look down the road, but we've got some teams coming up that have some players on our right side, their left side, the Von Millers of the world, Khalil Macks of the world that play on that side of the ball," Pederson said.

"This is a great opportunity for Lane. He's playing extremely well right now. I don't want to disrupt two positions and just plug Big V in. He's worked both sides and he's played well on both sides. This is the best opportunity for our football team."

Following practice, Johnson related to the position Vaitai is in. Johnson reminded himself that the upcoming 49ers game will only be Vaitai's eighth career start and first at left tackle. He admitted that it took him midway through his rookie season to adjust to the many facets of the NFL.

"I think Big V will be fine," Johnson said. "He had a great practice today."

In Johnson's eyes, the recipe for Vaitai is simple: the more reps, the better the second-year tackle becomes.

As far as the next opponent, the San Francisco frontline will be a great test for Johnson and Vaitai.

"One of the better D-lines I've seen," Johnson said. "(Solomon) Thomas, flashes all over the tape. (Elvis) Dumervil, a veteran, but he leads the team in sacks. Aaron Lynch, (DeForest) Buckner inside – it'll be a big test for us."

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