Pederson says Johnson's starting; given injuries, 'what else do I have left?'
Doug Pederson said Monday he hasn't met with Lane Johnson, who has returned to NovaCare from his 10-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, but Johnson has met with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and will start Thursday against the Giants.
Asked how he could be confident Johnson is ready, having not seen him, Pederson ran down the right tackle injury picture: Allen Barbre is looking to return from a hamstring problem, might or might not be 100 percent, Halapoulivaati Vaitai the same, from an MCL, and Isaac Seumalo, who started Sunday in Baltimore, suffered a high ankle sprain that he played with.
"What else do I have left?" Pederson asked. "You know what I mean? I'm just going -- 'Lane, you're the guy. I don't care if you're X weight, you gotta play.' He's an athlete. I'm sure he worked out and kept himself in shape ... He was about 318, 319 when he left us, I'd expect to see him about that weight, I guess, later today, and with the injury situation, you gotta go."
Pederson said running back/returner Darren Sproles has been cleared from the concussion protocol, which is good, since Kenjon Barner, his replacement, went down with a hamstring injury Sunday and won't play this week, Pederson said.
Pederson also continued to defend his play call on the failed 2-point conversion try at the end of the Baltimore game.
"In my mind, there was zero opportunity to run, because what we anticipated was what we got, defensively -- they gapped out, they zero blitzed us, there was not going to be a lane, it was going to be a 1-yard loss if we tried to run the football at that time."
Pederson said having leading rusher Ryan Mathews on the field at the end instead of rookie Byron Marshall, who was making his NFL debut, would not have disguised the Eagles' intentions. "They knew we were throwing the ball."