Lane Johnson knows the clock is ticking – less than two full weeks now – toward the Eagles' regular-season opener against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. September 8 is the date. September 8 is the goal for Johnson to be on the field lining up across one of his great rivals, Pro Bowl edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan.
"I'm using this time now to get my work in and get my body right," said Johnson, who has been out of Training Camp practices the last couple of weeks with a knee injury. "I'm in meetings, I'm getting the mental reps. I'm not worried about that. It just takes time.
"It feels good. I'll be ready for Week 1."
That's the hope for every rehabbing player at this time of the summer, and the Eagles have a few of those players on the mend. Johnson and his Pro Bowl linemate, Brandon Brooks, are both recovering from injuries – Brooks suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the playoff loss at New Orleans and, after being cleared for some one-on-one work last week in practice will now accelerate his activity this week and is hopeful to play against Washington – are the players on the offensive side of the ball racing toward the opener (quarterback Nate Sudfeld is not expected to be ready for September 8 as he recovers from a broken left wrist) while a host of players on defense are in the same situation.
While cornerback Jalen Mills remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list, the Eagles are hopeful to get a trio of key veterans sharpened up for Washington. All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (foot) is going to ramp up his practice activity in the days ahead, according to head coach Doug Pederson, as is linebacker Nigel Bradham (foot). We'll see how they progress throughout the final week of the preseason. Cornerback Ronald Darby (knee) has repeatedly expressed confidence that he will play against Washington as he's been very close to full go in recent Training Camp practices.
Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee) remains week to week as he rehabilitates from an injury he suffered early in Training Camp.
All in all, the Eagles are in a similar situation with most NFL teams. Injuries are part of the game. The Eagles have monitored all of their players throughout the spring and summer with the goal of getting each and every one of them back as soon as possible, most of them for the season opener.
While a prime focus is on the Jets and the preseason finale, the Eagles also have an eye on September 8, knowing the race is on against a clock that keeps ticking.