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Morning Roundup: Lane Johnson returns to the Eagles

Lane Johnson returns to the Eagles
Lane Johnson returns to the Eagles

Tackle Lane Johnson posted the following statement Monday morning. The All-Pro tackle missed the last three games due to a personal matter.

Head Coach Nick Sirianni addressed Johnson's return Monday morning on SportsRadio 94WIP.

"Lane is a big part of everything we want to do here. He's a great player, great person. I look forward to seeing him in the building and getting him back out there ready to roll," Sirianni told Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team.

Sirianni has preached the importance of connection with his players from the time he arrived.

"We just want our players to know that we're all here to support them at any time. Anything they're going through, good or bad, that's what a team does and that's what we do here," he added.

The Eagles are at the NovaCare Complex on Monday for meetings following the mini-bye weekend.

Offense strives for consistency, growth

Given the opportunity to examine the internal workings of the coaching staff, Head Coach Nick Sirianni has clear goals for his 2-4 Eagles looking forward, one of which includes continued growth for an offense that has shown anticipated fits and starts with a quarterback who has made 10 career starts, an offensive line that has had four different starting combinations, and skill-position players still learning their way around the NFL.

Within that, the intention is to find out what is the staple of the offense, the bread and butter for an explosive group of players that has been just that at times through six games, along with moments where penalties and missed chances set the team back.

Who are the Eagles on offense? Who are they going to be as the year progresses? It's something Sirianni spent some time over the weekend examining.

"When you've struggled the way we've struggled the last two weeks, it's like – that's the question you ask yourself every time, what is our identity, what do we need to do? Those are conversations that we're obviously having as an offensive staff," Sirianni said. "Now, it's not like when you first got here, we're like, 'OK, here's where we are, let's figure out what we can do.' We have strong convictions and strong feels of what we think it is. Now, do we know 100 percent what our identity is? No. I don't actually think anybody in the NFL knows 100 percent what their identity is right now in game 6. I think you're still building – even the teams that have been together for a long time, I don't think – pieces change year in and year out. That's probably a little less, but again, you're growing every day and you're building every day to find out exactly who you are.

"Do we know a heck of a lot more than what we knew Week 1? Of course. Do we know a heck of a lot more than what we knew Week 4? Of course. We are getting to those things. We didn't play well the last two weeks, so I know how it can look. I get it, guys. It could look like, 'Hey, they don't know what their identity is.' We are growing, we are finding it out more and more each week, and obviously we're accelerating that as much as we possibly can to put our guys in the best position we possibly can put them in."

Read the full column from Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro here.

The Eagles inducted Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan into the team's Hall of Fame on Thursday night. Here's a look at their respective careers.

Tra Thomas: The Technician

Tra Thomas vividly recalls meeting Eagles Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo at Veterans Stadium for a pre-draft visit in 1998. As soon as Thomas arrived, Castillo took him out onto the turf field. Mind you, it was nighttime. There were no lights on in the stadium. Thomas was still in his clothes from the flight, the suitcase nearby. Castillo immediately started working with Thomas, the Florida State product, on vertical pass sets.

Some players might have been scared off, wondering what they were getting themselves into. Not Thomas.

"I'm like, 'Man, this is the coach I need to play for.' I canceled my (remaining pre-draft) trips after that," Thomas said. "I wanted someone that was going to push me, someone that was going to make sure that he taught me the right things. I wanted someone that was going to invest that energy in me. I wanted the coaching and that's what I got from Juan."

Even though Thomas was a highly touted draft prospect, telling the other teams around the league that you're not interested in meeting was a bit of a gamble. It paid off for both Thomas and the Eagles. The Eagles chose a generational blindside protector in Thomas with the 11th overall pick in that draft. Thomas wasted no time cultivating a relationship with the City of Philadelphia. He drove from Florida State's campus in Tallahassee to Philadelphia and immediately bought a house in the area to get settled prior to the team's first minicamp.

Good thing. He was the opening-day starter at left tackle for the Eagles as a rookie.

Jon Runyan: The Enforcer

Jon Runyan understands why you might think his current job is a little bit ironic. Runyan is the NFL's Vice President of Policy and Rules Administration. He works closely with former Eagles teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Troy Vincent, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the league. Runyan oversees club and game-related initiatives related to players. He serves as Commissioner Roger Goodell's designee for on-field uniform and discipline infractions as agreed upon by the NFL and players' union.

He was certainly an enforcer on the field, dishing out punishing blocks during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2000-08. Over those nine years, he suited up for all 144 regular-season and 17 postseason games. Yes, Runyan didn't miss a single contest in Midnight Green. No matter who lined up at every other position, the Eagles could rely on the mammoth 6-foot-7, 330-pound Runyan holding down the right tackle spot.

"Back then, you did what you had to do to get out there and perform," said Runyan, who played through a significant knee injury in the 2004 run to the Super Bowl and a fractured tailbone in the 2008 playoffs that ended with a trip to the NFC Championship Game. "You can be banged up and hurt and all that, but you know that the second that ball is snapped, the four seconds or so of that play, if you're locked in, you don't feel all of those sprained ankles, those knee ligaments. As soon as that play is over, you're walking back to the huddle and it hurts, but it's that mental approach you take to say, I can turn this off and get this done and help this team win games."

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Microsoft Teams Top Connection

Anthony Harris netted his first interception as a Philadelphia Eagle on Thursday night against the Bucs.

Check out the best photos from Thursday night.

Up next, the 4-2 Raiders in Las Vegas

Eagles fans will take over Sin City this weekend as the team travels to Las Vegas to face the 4-2 Raiders.

After a tumultuous week following the resignation of Head Coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders beat the division-rival Denver Broncos, 34-24, at Mile High.

DeVonta Smith's former teammate at Alabama, Henry Ruggs, scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr in the first quarter as the Raiders never trailed, opening up a 24-7 lead in the third quarter.

Carr was 18-of-27 for 341 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Eight different players caught passes for the Raiders. Las Vegas' defense forced Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to throw three interceptions to aid the winning effort.

Fran Duffy highlights 52 of Zach Ertz's best moments

Zach Ertz is an all-time great Philadelphia athlete.

Not just an all-time tight end.

Not just an all-time Eagle.

He's an all-time Philadelphia athlete.

Over the course of his nine-year career, he set numerous records (and came close to setting more), was an extremely reliable player (he played at least 14 games in each of his first seven seasons), was a go-to target in high-leverage situations on third down and in the red zone, and caught the game-winning touchdown in the team's first Super Bowl Championship. He had an outstanding impact off the field, both in the locker room and in the community, and developed into one of the true voices of the team over the last few seasons through both the high and low moments.

For the purpose of this piece, I wanted to go back and just look at some of my favorite moments over the course of his career and showcase the impact he had on the Eagles' offense during his time in Philadelphia.

No matter who he caught passes from, Ertz proved he was the definition of a quarterback's best friend. He had extremely soft hands and made highlight grabs seem routine.

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