It's hard to replace the stability provided by a multi-time Pro Bowler at any position but Eagles star right tackle Lane Johnson believes his group is ready for the challenge.
Initially, Philadelphia expected to return four of its five offensive line starters from last season in 2020. That hope was dashed when right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a torn Achilles last month. It'll be quite the gap to fill but Johnson, Brooks' right hand man since 2016, is optimistic Philly can do it despite the loss of the player he's made the last three Pro Bowls alongside.
"I expect the O-line to not miss a beat. I mean, obviously you can't replace a Brandon Brooks, who's the best guard in the league, so losing him was definitely a big blow for us but ultimately we still need him in the room as far as directing the young guys, pushing these guys forward," Johnson told NFL Network's Colleen Wolfe during an appearance on NFL Total Access Thursday.
A former fourth overall draft pick, Johnson has been a fixture in Philly since 2013, the same year Brooks became a starter for the Texans. In 2016, Brooks joined the Eagles after signing a five-year deal; two seasons later, he and Johnson were key parts on a formidable front line that anchored Philly en route to its win in Super Bowl LII. The duo started all but one game that entire season; Johnson also earned first-team All-Pro honors for his efforts.
In 2019, Pro Football Focus ranked the Eagles as the league's best O-line. Johnson, who played 12 games due to various injuries, surrendered one sack while Brooks -- the PFF Matthews Award winner for best offensive lineman -- was also beaten out once in his 16 starts, according to PFF. Whoever occupies the spot now opened by Brooks' injury will have quite the spotlight on their back.
"As we move towards training camp, guys will be battling for that starting spot. I don't know who it's gonna be, I'm not sure what moves will be made in between then but somebody will fill that void and try to do it the best they can," Johnson told Wolfe.
For a team a few months removed from a wild-card berth that always has big expectations, finding the best piece to help provide protection for the oft-injured Carson Wentz will certainly be high on the priority list.