When the 2022 season begins, Lane Johnson will have been the Philadelphia Eagles' starting right tackle for a full decade. He has run the gamut of quarterbacks to protect.
The team's current QB, Jalen Hurts, has flashed potential through 19 starts since wresting the job from Carson Wentz in 2020, but he's still developing as a passer. From Johnson's viewpoint, Hurts is approaching that growth in a fashion that's worthy of admiration.
"He just carries himself with a lot of poise. I mean, he demands respect," Johnson told MJ Acosta-Ruiz on NFL Total Access. "Just the way he approaches day-to-day activity, how he trains, what he does in the film room. And he's a great motivator. He's a great leader. (He's) super behind the scenes, even during summer, he's connecting with a lot of the guys. Lot of receivers. Doing 7-on-7. Just doing typical work to prepare. I know he's excited about the new guys that we have that we drafted and acquired over the offseason, and really just getting ready to go to work."
Those new acquisitions that Johnson mentioned -- led on the offensive side by wide receiver A.J. Brown, with cornerback James Bradberry highlighting the new faces on defense -- have garnered buzz as the season inches closer. Last week, running back Miles Sanders went as far as to say that it feels like he's on an all-star team.
Asked about the mounting hype, Johnson was careful to share a more measured evaluation, but he did acknowledge Philadelphia's infusion of talent.
"When it comes down to it, you have to approach every day with an aggressive mindset," Johnson said. "You have to stay in the moment and not look too far ahead because when you do that teams can easily beat you. You can be easily beaten. So, the name of the game is focus. Yeah, I feel like we do have a great roster, but at the end of the day, we still have to go play."
All-star team or not, Philly has put the pieces in place to help Hurts stack success coming off an uneven 2021 campaign.
The third-year signal caller threw for 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year, adding another 784 yards and 10 scores on the ground. His mobility will continue to be a thorn in the side of opposing defenses, but a trio of Brown, wideout DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert is among the best the league has to offer.
As for how Johnson fits into the equation, the lineman didn't allow a single sack last season, according to PFF. If Johnson continues to keep his young quarterback clean, Jalen Hurts has everything at his disposal to transform his behind-the-scenes leadership into lofty results.