Since he started playing football in the seventh grade, Lane Johnson had never experienced a concussion.
Johnson doesn't remember the exact moment or play that it happened, but it was sometime during the first half when he took a hit that shook him up enough from finishing the Week 5 game against the Cardinals. At halftime, Johnson followed his instincts and had himself checked out.
"I just felt slowed down and drowsy so to speak. It wasn't any memory loss or anything like that but the doctors did a good job," Johnson said. "I came in at halftime and it wasn't feeling right so I went through all the protocol."
Johnson didn't pass the concussion protocol until this past Monday. His teammates and coaches were happy to see the right tackle back in action during Thursday's practice after he missed last week's win in Carolina. Johnson's presence certainly makes a difference in the offense. The Eagles rank fifth in rushing yards and quarterback Carson Wentz sits tied in second place with 13 touchdown passes.
"We have Lane," tight end Zach Ertz said about the difference between this season's success and last year. "I think he's a huge part of this team. I don't have to chip every play when he's in there."
The Eagles are 9-2 overall when both Johnson and Wentz play and 4-1 this season. Head coach Doug Pederson announced that he will go back to his tackle-eligible plays with Johnson back in the lineup.
"It's just really the continuity. You go to practice every day with the same guys and do the same thing over and over with repetitions and not having that guy there causes a change of scenery and you have to work with somebody you haven't had the reps with," Johnson said.
Johnson's gone toe-to-toe with the league's best pass rushers each week and in his return will encounter Washington's troublesome two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
In the opener, the Redskins were able to make things difficult for Wentz and the Eagles' ground game. The Washington front line relinquished only 52 rushing yards and sacked Wentz twice. Kerrigan also came away with the first pick-six of Wentz's career.
At 5-1, Johnson believes this team can do something special. With an opportunity to shut down the Redskins twice this season come Monday night, the Eagles can take a sizeable leap in that direction.
"They're really good at stopping the run. I think the linebackers are really downhill. They're a team that has a lot of potential," Johnson said. "They still dial up blitzes and there was some stuff that caught us off guard with some twist stunts and backer movement early that I think we'll be ready for this time."
After downing the Redskins in Washington in the season opener, the Eagles face their division rival Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field. Check out the Redskins' players to watch.