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NFL Playoffs: OU-product Lane Johnson, Eagles ready for opening playoff game vs. New Orleans

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: January 3, 2014
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Lane Johnson, the No. 4 overall pick out of Oklahoma, wasn't the only Eagles rookie analysts questioned heading into the season.

There were concerns Philadelphia rookie head coach Chip Kelly's fast-paced, Oregon offense might flop in the NFL, a league linebackers and safeties are faster, a league players are better trained to play assignment football.

But with Johnson anchoring the right side of the Eagles' offensive line and six-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters the left side, LeSean McCoy won the NFL rushing title and Nick Foles compiled the highest quarterback rating in the league.

“People had suspicions whether it was really going to work,” Johnson said in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman. “We started slow. We had some adversity. But once we got it going, we really started rolling.”

The Eagles, who host New Orleans Saturday night in an NFC wild card game, finished second in the league in total offense, averaging 417.3 yards a game. They were fourth in scoring (27.6).

Kelly's offense was a good fit for Johnson, who played four different positions in college.

Starting all 16 games at right tackle, Johnson has experienced customary rookie growing pains but has held his own against elite speed pass rushers.

“It's been a lot of work constantly changing positions,” Johnson said. “I wasn't a player that got a lot of publicity. I've always been a dark horse who had to work his way up. That's my mentality. No matter what happens, I take things in stride, I keep battling.”

Johnson, who signed a four-year contract worth nearly $20 million, prefers left tackle but will stay on the right side as long as Peters, a 31-year-old, six-time Pro Bowler, is in Philadelphia. Peters has one more year left on his contract.

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