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Return of Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson can be the key to the Eagles’ offensive success


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Return of Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson can be the key to the Eagles’ offensive success


Updated Jun 27, 2021; Posted Jun 27, 2021
Brandon Brooks

Eagles guard Brandon Brooks (right) and right tackle Lane Johnson (left) look to come back from significant injuries. Tim Hawk | For NJ.com

The Eagles have always put a lot of resources into their offensive line, adhering to the philosophy that a solid offensive line is the key to making sure an offense is successful. That was one reason why the Eagles locked up right tackle Lane Johnson and right guard Brandon Brooks to lucrative contracts.
However, both Brooks and Johnson suffered serious injuries that kept them off the field. Brooks sustained an Achilles injury before training camp that caused him to miss the season, and Johnson dealt with ankle issues that allowed him to play in only seven games. However, their returns could be why the Eagles rebound on offense next season.
The offensive line was plagued by injuries last season, with center Jason Kelce being the only starter who played all 16 games last season. Appearing on the Fantasy Feast Podcast with Ross Tucker, Kate and Michelle Magdziuk of the BallBlast Podcast mentioned a couple of statistics that illustrated the anomaly of what the Eagles offensive line went through last season.
According to the sister duo, the Eagles’ use of 14 different starting offensive line combinations was the most a team utilized since the 1983 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That Buccaneers team went 2-14. The two also said the Eagles had six offensive linemen who made their first career NFL start, the most by any team since 1991.
While their absence allowed players such as Jack Driscoll and Nate Herbig to gain valuable experience for young players, their production was not on par with what Brooks and Johnson brought to the table.
Last season, the Eagles finished ninth in the league in rushing yards per game (126.7). New head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen are likely to place a heavier emphasis on running the ball more this season, using the run game as a way to wear down opposing offensive lines, win the time of possession battle, and allow the defense to rest more. Johnson and Brooks can go a long way to help accomplish those goals.
According to Pro Football Focus, when the Eagles ran to the right side behind in 2018, the last year when Johnson and Brooks played at least 16 games in a season, the team averaged 4.3 yards per carry when running to the right guard, right tackle and right end area.
Their return will also go a long way in the development of Jalen Hurts. Hurts is the presumptive starter entering his second season in the league. Having a veteran offensive line in front of him will allow him a better chance to be successful. The two have combined to allow only 13 sacks in the last four seasons. If they return to the way they have played before, they will not only give Hurts more time to look for receivers downfield but help with screen passes, using their athleticism to get down the field and get blocks at the second and third levels.


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