Lane Johnson thought the Jags were trying to test the ol’ rook out. It happened during the third preseason game in the suffocating Southern humidity of Jacksonville. Johnson the Eagles’ rookie right tackle and No. 4 overall pick noticed defensive end Jason Babin striking his usual three-point stance from the wide-nine position.
When he had watched tape earlier in the week Johnson observed Babin often positioned on the opposite side of the line matched up against the opponent’s left tackle. On this night the Jags took a different tack.
“They had Babin on me the whole game” Johnson said. “Usually he’s on the other side. ”
Johnson lost some early matchups won some others. A boxing official might have deemed it a draw. Head coach Chip Kelly suggested that the Jags weren’t really targeting Johnson more than they were positioning their best rusher away from the side with heaviest protection.
Regardless Johnson had interpreted the scenario as the first warning signal of what’s to ...