Every conversation about the Eagles’ offensive line seems to start out with … “IF Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks are healthy …”
Both three-time Pro Bowl offensive linemen are huge question marks right now, both in their 30s, both coming off major surgeries, both hoping to return to form in 2021.
Johnson has been dealing with a left ankle injury that dates back to the London game against the Jaguars in October of 2018. He underwent tightrope surgery to repair the injury in August of 2020 but only managed to play seven games last year, leaving four of them early, before finally shutting down and undergoing another operation.
Brooks has suffered season-ending injuries in each of the last three seasons — a left Achilles during the 2018 postseason, a shoulder injury late in 2019 and then a right Achilles a year ago this week. All three required surgery.
When healthy, Jason Kelce, Brooks and Johnson form one of the NFL’s most dominating offensive line right sides.
But Brooks and Johnson haven’t both been healthy at the end of a season since 2017. And you know what happened then.
Jeff Stoutland, the Eagles’ offensive line coach under Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson and now Nick Sirianni, updated the statuses of Johnson and Brooks on Wednesday.
And the news was encouraging.
“Watching them on the field here the last couple weeks. I mean, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’m being honest. I’m being straight-out honest. I’m…