Doug Pederson confirms Lane Johnson to stay put; coach says it's his job to prevent letdown

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Halapoulivaati Vaitai (right) will start at left tackle Sunday.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson confirmed Friday that Lane Johnson will remain at right tackle and Halapoulivaati Vaitai will start at left tackle this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers, as the team grapples with the loss of nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters.

This reflected what players have said during the week, and Johnson’s preference – though Johnson has been penciled in as Peters’ eventual replacement since he was drafted fourth overall in 2013, he would prefer not to make the switch in the middle of a season.

Pederson said the coaches “want to do what’s best for the o-line.”

Pederson said it is up to him to make sure the 6-1 Eagles, with the best record in the NFL, don’t slack off preparing on a short week for the 0-7 49ers, who have lost five times by three points or fewer. The game will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

“Keeping these guys detailed and honed in on their responsibilities is the key,” Pederson said.

Peters, 35, suffered MCL and ACL tears to his right knee in Monday night’s victory over the Washington Redskins. The Eagles also lost their middle linebacker, Jordan Hicks, to an Achilles tear in that game.

Pederson said Hicks’ injury, season-ending though he hasn’t yet been placed on injured reserve as Peters has, “is a big opportunity” for Mychal Kendricks, who has been unhappy with his playing time.

Cornerback Ronald Darby, out since he left the season opener with a dislocated ankle, continues to be listed as a partial practice participant. Pederson said Darby will be “questionable” for Sunday’s game. He also spoke of Darby’s needing to get back into “football shape,” making it seem unlikely Darby will play this weekend.