The health news on the right side of the Eagles offensive line, appears to be getting better. Right tackle Lane Johnson, who suffered a knee injury the first week of August, said on Sunday that he fully expects to be back for the opener on Sept. 8 against the visiting Washington Redskins.
Right guard Brandon Brooks, recovering from an Achilles injury, began taking part in team drills on Sunday.
In their absence Halapoulivaati Vaitai has started the first three preseason games at right guard and Jordan Mailata has been the starter in all three at right tackle.
The Eagles conclude their preseason with Thursday’s game against the host New York Jets.
Johnson didn’t play in the Aug. 8 preseason opener against Tennessee and then two days later coach Doug Pederson announced he was out with a knee injury.
A Pro Bowl selection in each of the past two seasons, Johnson said on Sunday that he will ramp up his workouts next week.
“I expect to be full go by next week,” Johnson said.
This week, Johnson said he would be doing individual drills and next week be involved in team drills. He says it has been frustrating to be sidelined.
“It is hard for me,” Johnson said. “I feel like a caged lion and want to go out there and play with my guys.”
Johnson then talked about what he has done to stay sharp while sidelined.
“We go through walk-throughs, so I can do that stuff as far as my assignments,” he said. “As far as conditioning, I go to the weight room and get after it. That is really it, worry about that and then just be conditioned for the game.”
Brooks, who has earned Pro Bowl honors the past two seasons, tore his Achilles on Jan. 13 during the Eagles 20-14 playoff loss at New Orleans.
During the preseason Brooks has been progressing and has now graduated from doing individual drills to adding team drills.
“He’s looking really good in everything that he’s doing, he’s moving well,” Pederson said about Brooks in his press conference before practice.
So now is the next step.
“We're still -- he's been cleared to increase his load a little bit this week,” Pederson said. “We'll give him some more team reps this week and see where he's at.”
With the 6-foot-5, 335-pound Brooks, the Eagles will proceed with caution.
“We just have to be careful,” Pederson said. “I mean, he's a big guy, and obviously with the injury. But he's looking good. He's looking powerful, and I'm excited about that.”
Needless to say, so is Brooks.
“I will go out and do team reps today and see how it goes,” Brooks said before practice, when the players were available. “I feel good.”
Ever since he suffered the injury, Brooks had said that his goal was to return for the season opener. Despite wanting to play, Brooks, like Pederson will be cautious.