Monday, October 20, 2014
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Chip Kelly: Lane Johnson forced to be more vocal with second-team offensive line

Chip Kelly said Wednesday that suspended Lane Johnson has benefited from having more responsibility with the backups.

Chip Kelly: Lane Johnson forced to be more vocal with second-team offensive line

Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson says he feels bad about letting his team down in the wake of his four-game suspension.
Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson says he feels bad about letting his team down in the wake of his four-game suspension. CLEM MURRAY / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Lane Johnson's demotion to the second-team offense was made with the first four weeks in mind, although the Eagles also must pay attention to Johnson's long-term development. Coach Chip Kelly said before Wednesday's practice that Johnson has benefited from having more responsibility with the backups.

"He’s doing a real good job," Kelly said. "It’s probably beneficial he’s not with Todd [Herremans] all the time because Todd being the older guy, a lot of times makes all the calls on the right side. Lane is forced to be a little bit more vocal. There is development going on there. He’s worked extremely hard."

Kelly also was complimentary of Allen Barbre, Johnson's replacement. The big task for Barbre is getting used to the right side after spending most of his career on the left.

**Wide receiver Riley Cooper is dealing with a foot injury, running back Chris Polk has a hamstring injury, and center Julian Vandervelde has a back injury. Kelly dd not consider any of the injuries serious.

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**Kelly emphasized to first-round pick Marcus Smith that Smith does not need to worry about what's expected of him from the outside.

"Marcus has done a great job with it," Kelly said. "Him and all of the guys we have in here, they understand the only expectations they have to rise to are the ones the coaching staff and they have for themselves."

Kelly said Smith seems "more comfortable" and has made "steady improvement."

**Also at outside linebacker, Brandon Graham continues to adjust to dropping into coverage. Kelly said that is how Graham's game can expand.

"Be more comfortable on his feet, understand sometimes he’s going forward and sometimes he’s going back," Kelly said. "Brandon, you know he has certain pass rush skills he’s always demonstrated."

**Competition for backup jobs are not as glamorous, but pay attention to what happens at inside linebacker for the Eagles. DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks are cemented as starters. Najee Goode is the only player behind them that has experience playing inside linebacker in this system. The Eagles did not address inside linebacker at all this offseason, which Kelly said was the result of not forcing a pick in the draft. Emmanuel Acho, Jake Knott, Jason Phillips, and Casey Matthews are all competing for spots.

:"We do like our depth, but some of it is unproven," Kelly said. "That's the one big question."

**Among the Eagles' ball boys is La Salle High School quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who has committed to play at Vanderbilt. Shurmur is the son of Eagles' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The sons of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, and tight ends coach Ted Williams also have worked at Eagles camp.

"I think it's positive that fathers and sons can be around in the work environment," Kelly said. "They're just ball boys running around. If we ever need their arm somewhere, we get them. ...I just think it's positive if we have a chance to have a lot of coaches with their kids at practice."

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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