The First Bump in the Road

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 96 Comments »

“You idiot!!! I said to give the players a Pez dispenser, not a PED dispenser.”

I don’t know that Chip Kelly said those words today, but it is possible with the news that RT Lane Johnson is facing a 4-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. ILB Jake Knott tested positive previously and both players are slated to miss the first 4 games of the season.

Ugh.

The Eagles O-line had the same 5 guys start all 16 games last year. That stability helped the group to play at a high level despite having less than ideal circumstances (rookie RT, new RG and 3 players coming off injury all working for a new OL coach and learning a new scheme). Johnson’s suspension means the Eagles will have at least another player added to the mix this year.

Allen Barbre is the leading candidate to replace Johnson. He didn’t start for the Eagles last year, but did see some time at LT when Jason Peters was banged up. Barbre can be an effective RT, but losing him destroys the OL depth. What then happens if Peters gets hurt? The Eagles really need another young player to step up. Dennis Kelly would be the best choice because he has starting experience, but he hasn’t played in a while. Could Matt Tobin slide over to the right side? Michael Bamiro is more of a long shot with his limited background and pass protection issues.

The good news is that the Eagles have time to prepare for this. They can work the backup RT into the #1 offense in practices and games to try and build up some chemistry. They can shuffle guys around to see who they think fits best in which slots. The Eagles could also shop around for a veteran player to be a backup OT.

The Eagles haven’t had to deal with many situations like this over the years, but now have the second one in a matter of months. Is Chip Kelly’s Sports Science program pushing players too aggressively? I’m not saying the team would ever encourage players to take PEDs, but you could wonder if the desire to get every edge possible leads to a mentality that causes players to take chances.

Or maybe this is just a coincidence.

The one thing the players have in common is that they are both in their second season. They want to do everything possible to max out their ability. Things are very different beyond that. Knott is fighting for a roster spot. Johnson wants to make the Pro Bowl.

Knott proclaimed his innocence after testing positive, claiming it was the dreaded supplement that got him. We’ll hear from Johnson some time in the near future.

Every football season is full of challenges. Last year it was losing Jeremy Maclin and dealing with Rileygate. The first challenge of the 2014 season is upon us. It will be interesting to see how Kelly deals with this. He’s got plenty of time to come up with the right answer. One bit of advice I can offer…the answer isn’t Demetress Bell.

* * * * *

Here is Zach Berman on the situation.

Here is Sheil Kapadia on the situation.

_


  • bdbd20

    If Demetress Bell is the answer, I’d rather not know the question.

    • D3FB

      Which child was Karl Malone better off not knowing?

      • Alex Karklins

        Brutal, dude, brutal. +1

      • Maggie

        Just saying that name activates my gag reflex.

      • JakFTW

        Why isn’t there a sports-only version of Jeopardy?

  • jon

    jake knott was adderall

    • Bert’s Bells

      Yup. And that stuff IS handed out like Pez to anyone who asks for it. Pro athletes should know better, but these aren’t guys known for their common sense.

    • Media Mike

      Great; Knott is too immoral to follow the rules and so stupid he needs adderall.

      • Ben Hert

        Guess you could say he’s a guy who the rules do Knott apply to?

        • anon

          to whom the rules do Knott apply.

      • A Roy

        Stupid people do not “need Adderall.” People who have difficulty concentrating need it. Smart or stupid. Just call Knott an asshole instead acting like one yourself.

  • SteveH

    Those darn supplements, always secretly containing potent steroid cocktails.

  • A_T_G

    Suddenly those jokes a few weeks back about Boykin and his guns are less funny.

    • Ark87

      The dude started chugging water and doing blood transfusions as soon as he got the news! Get clean Brandon!

    • GEAGLE

      Lol RIGHT!!! I was so Happy to see BANE Johnson…hopefully Lane is still BANE when the 4 games suspension is over….if he still looks like Bane when he returns, the 4 games will have been worth while :)

  • A_T_G

    Didn’t the Seahawks have a few guys get caught last year? Is there some link to their college backgrounds, either innocently supplement-related or turning a blind eye in the college game?

    • anon

      NFL playbook lends itself to adderall for certain guys. Let’s you really lock into the tape study.

    • GEAGLE

      Ike Reese spoke to this…

      He said back in the day, guys were just training with team trainers at team facilities, especially a guy like him who was cheap…

      These days, kids pay all types of people to train you away from the team facility…for exMple Jordan Mathews going to Atlanta next week to work out with AJ green and Calvin JOHNSON…or another example is there is now an industry of specialized training to get these kids ready to perform at the combine….

      Basically he says that athletes are getting exposed to all these trainers outside the team facility and they tell you they can give you this that will help you with whatever(strength, speed recover). And it’s undetectable, and they tell the kid other great players like so and so, are taking it for the past year, earned a big contract and were never popped…. Basically the exposure to the world of sports training, outside the team facility is what leads to this problem

  • Cafone

    Well this is starting to look like a pattern.

    Let’s hope the coaching staff is innocent, but even if they are this happened on their watch and they need to tighten things up. I won’t assume the worst, but don’t be surprised if people outside Philadelphia start insinuating. After all, Kelly did break the rules in college and left Oregon under a cloud of NCAA sanctions.

    It may be a good time to consider if Kelly doesn’t really give a damn about the rules. We are all painfully aware that his buddy Bellicheat doesn’t.

    • D3FB

      I mean Oregon paid Willie Lyles a third party “scout” who is really just a bag man for high profile recruits. A dozen other schools had paid Lyles as well for his “scouting reports”. Or as it’s also called, major college football recruiting. Let’s not make it out like he was running SMU in the 80′s or the “U” in the 90′s, or a major scandal ala PSU. (Before PSU crowd tries to crucify me, my dad is an alum, and I almost went there, so calm down).

    • Maggie

      This did not happen “on their watch”. This was league off-season testing. Just as you cannot legislate stupid, coaches cannot control players in the off-season. Or totally control them during the season, for that matter. After all, they proclaim themselves to be grown men.

      • Cafone

        So, if Jeff Lurie asks Chip Kelly for an explanation, I guess his response should be “Hey boss, nothing I can control about it. They are grown men.”

        And maybe Lurie would say, “Well, how about we consider some sort of education program so players are sure what they can and can’t put into their bodies. And maybe we could set up a hotline so players could verify any medications with the team so they don’t take anything accidentally.” And I guess in your opinion, at this point Chip Kelly should just shrug his shoulders and “beats me boss.”

        • Ark87

          It is kind of startling, I don’t remember any PED suspensions under Reid, surely they happened though right? It’s just 2 in one off season is startling.

          • Jernst

            Reid had more than a few players get caught with weed and a lot of drug shenanigans going on in his house. And, I’ve heard from unverifiable sources that I know close to the situation that there was definitely some cross over between the issues with his sons using the same crooked doctor that would prescribe PEDs and pain pills, ect to the players. I think this stuff is more rampant than we know.

          • Ark87

            I definitely remember there was a lot of weed and a lot of knucklehead stuff. But as for PED’s, not so much. Either he as very active in making sure it wasn’t going on. Or was invested in education of which ones get you caught, how long it stays in the system, etc.

          • GEAGLE

            It’s actually really fishy the fact that eagles never failed,drug tests….guys like Herremans were smoking weed at Lehigh! weed stays in your system ATleast two weeks..training camp is right before the preseason, yet guys like Herremans and Buckhalter never even got popped for weed? It’s not even possible in this day and age to have been so clean as our players have been. Both I’m terms of PEDs and recreational drugs like pot…

            Amazing that Lane and Jake were the first players in how long?

          • Ark87

            exactly! I remember in 2010 or 2011 during camp 2 of our guys got pulled over in possession of weed and got off scoff free Cop must have been an Eagles fan!

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah Herremans and I can’t remember who the other was

        • Ben Hert

          Kelly always makes a point when talking about monitoring his players, that, “these are grown men.” He’s right. Too often we try and baby these guys, and reduce the chance that they will do something stupid. Dez Bryant and his security crew, prime example.

          These guys are supposed to be “professionals”, and hence they should know what and what not can be put into their body, and have enough common sense to monitor or clear with the Eagles trainers their “supplements”.

          I know its hard to keep track of all the little things that can get you in trouble, but when my company pays me a couple million a year to work for 8 months out of the year, I don’t think its too much to ask to closely monitor your diet for stuff that is clearly outlined as illegal. Not to mention all the resources you have around the league to clear these substances with. There is no excuse, and there is no onus on Chip. The Eagles staff can’t control what Lane does or doesn’t use outside of the training facility in the off-season, and Lane Johnson should know better than to blindly consume supplements in a league in which you know they test for PED’s on a regular basis.

          • anon

            It’s a competitive environment, even for a guy like LJ. If adderall/HGH could make me $15m extra over over the next 3-4years or be the difference between being in an out of the league, or coming back from an injury or not — i’d have to strongly consider.

            Most of these guys coach HS ball after their career is over (which might be after their rookie deals). Stakes are super high so I understand, even though it’s stupid.

          • GEAGLE

            In fairness we don’t know what he got popped for yet

          • Cafone

            I don’t disagree that it’s the players’ responsibility.

            But Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman are responsible to the organization for the players they draft and sign.

            You can’t lavish praise on Chip Kelly for months about the culture he’s brought to the Philadelphia Eagles and then turn around and say “Welp, nothing he could have done about it” when something goes wrong.

            They have two of these suspensions now. If Chip Kelly isn’t taking steps right now to try and prevent a third, then he’s not doing his job.

        • A Roy

          There’s probably nothing in place like that right now. The team probably doesn’t speak of it at all. They’d rather look the other way and then miss an important player for a significant part of the season. Either you’re 15 or you’re a 1970s Steelers fan.

    • A Roy

      One is random. Two is a coincidence. Three is a pattern.

    • Dominik

      It may be a good time to consider if Kelly doesn’t really give a damn about the rules.

      Then he should not, I repeat: should not, hang out with this guy:

      http://makeameme.org/media/created/am-i-the-j3wowp.jpg

    • GEAGLE

      Pattern? 2 young players in today and age can’t be called a pattern…

      Actually this is such a rare occurrence for the eagles that it got me wondering..eagles literally never get busted for Drug tests…how is that even possible in today’s day and age? Ray Rhodes, Andy and Chip are so good at only drafting clean, choir boys? All the time eagles like Herremans and Buckhalter got busted for smoking pot. Yet no one ever fails drug tests playing for the eagles? I Find it hard to believe that all these years all our players were clean…how is that even possible? Bout time two eagles get busted for something

  • Jernst

    F you Lane Johnson

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    What’s the Fireman up to these days?

    • TommyLawlor

      Brutal.

      • A Roy

        On the bright side, if we didn’t have such a wasted draft, we’d still have Banner and Reid bringing us yearly dream teams.

    • Maggie

      April 2014, TSN,ca
      GM Wally Buono doesn’t expect Danny Watkins to help the BC Lions this season or in the future.
      Buono said he believes the former first-round pick in the NFL is done with football, and has moved on with his life.

  • BobSmith77

    Any word on what he was specifically suspended for?

    • GEAGLE

      No not yet….trying to with hold judgement til we find out

  • GENETiC-FREAK

    Some peeps gonna blame the supplement but its up to the user to get it cleared before use

  • Patrick Pauling

    Hey Tommy, how about Steve Pearce, man is he on fire right now!! Gotta say though, Chris Davis feels like a big let down so far this year and it’s so tough without wieters, think we should make a trade for a catcher? I’m trying my hardest to not be disappointed in Machado as well. I keep reminding myself he’s still young and inexperienced as well as coming off an off-season injury, but it’s hard to not have high expectations. To me that’s the big difference between baseball and football, the time it takes for players to develop is longer in baseball in my mind. I wonder what the numbers say on that. Anyway, out of curiosity, what O’s pitcher would you say frustrates you the most?

    • TommyLawlor

      Pearce is on fire. Now that Tillman has settled down, Jimenez is probably the most frustrating. He can be dominant and awful in back to back starts. I’ve never seen a P walk guys like he does.

      Davis is just a mess at the plate. Just hope he wakes up soon. The offense needs him.

  • Addison Abdo

    Are there any quality free agent guards on the market? We could slide Herremans over then.

    • GEAGLE

      This is why we have young backups our coaches have been grooming for over a year

  • Finlay Jones

    The most worrying aspect to me is when did he start taking them? I hope they weren’t responsible for his upswing in play, and he can be a good RT and LT for us for the next ten years. Indeed, if he doesn’t pan out, the O-line is kinda screwed, with only Kelce left for the future.

    • GEAGLE

      Relax, we don’t even know what he tested positive for

  • eagleyankfan

    Two things that are down right silly. 1 – blaming Chips for pushing too hard and 2 – blaming sports science. You’re like the parent that believes your kid when caught with hooch — that he was holding it for someone else. Give me a break. Blame the person who got caught. Don’t give/make excuses for him. (stupid) Rookies look for that edge. They think they have a lot to prove.
    Last year Vick/Nick/DJ/Cooper were put the ringer 10 fold over LJ and none of them turned to PED’s(or whatever LJ was caught with).
    If you want to question(read try to blame) Chip — a valid question is the whole “only draft high quality, smart players”. This doesn’t seem so smart. It’s down right stupid. I would imagine all rookies go through a “don’t do this” class to cover drugs. The blame is still on LJ and LJ alone. He has to face the music.
    Once camp starts — does LJ practice with the ones? You’d have to imagine once he returns he goes right into the starting line-up. Or do you prepare his replacement with the ones?
    Do the Eagles get a roster exemption for the 2 players or do they have to go into the season down 2 players?

    • Ark87

      You’d think with sport’s science and monitoring we’d
      A) Detect it if it was going on and stop it. (they piss in a cup and fill out a questionaire first thing every morning when they get to Novacare right?)

      OR if we don’t actively discourage PED’s

      B) Teach the boys how to pass a damn piss test

      • A Roy

        I doubt they would spend the money to frequently test all players for something that the team and league constantly harangue the players not to do.

        • Ark87

          It’s really not much money, considering the amount they have invested in these players. 4 games without our 2013 first round pick is a different kind of expensive.

          • A Roy

            90 guys times 7 days a week times 39 weeks (?) times $100 a pop adds up to a couple mil pretty quickly. And for what? To tell your employees they’re worthless, untrustworthy meat? What kind of company do you work for?

          • Ark87

            This isn’t the same as drug testing your employee’s to fire them and report them to the authorities. For starters most of the banned substances are not criminal to take. Secondly, all these guys take supplements and always the latest and the greatest. A lot of them genuinely don’t know they’re taking a banned substance (for example everyone knows adderall now, but that wasn’t always the case). They’re actively looking for an edge, which walks very close to the line, but the line is blurrier than you might think. We would test not for punitive measure, but to prevent punitive measures. To help figure out what’s potentially hazardous to the team. Sports science can give us an edge in performance and recovery, why not use it to keep our players on the field this way?

          • A Roy

            I did “worst case” math, based on the fact the original poster talked about pissing in the cup daily.

            By the time you catch someone, the league can catch them too. There’s no prevention here. BLAME THE PLAYER. It’s no one’s fault but their own. And no amount of admonishment in advance will work if they feel they need to take it to gain an edge.

            And that still doesn’t negate the insidious effect it has on morale. The goal is to get people to want to do their best…not just because they’re getting paid well.

          • mtn_green

            Educate. But don’t piss test. If eagles get a positive, they probably have to report.

          • Ark87

            Yes when we found one of our players tested positive to one of our tests, there would be an “oh crap I hope the league doesn’t test said player ” period while this substance clears out. The league isn’t testing regularly so it absolutely could prevent a suspension if we righted the ship early (they can only ever by on said substance for less than a week in such a program, which greatly restricts the window of vulnerability from months to days). I’m not blaming anybody here. These things are often mistakes and accidents. Again it isn’t about shaming or admonishment, it’s about prevention.

          • Bert’s Bells

            I would assume that as a franchise of the NFL, an individual club would be legally obligated to report violations of league policy to the home office.

      • since1961

        I wonder if the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows the team (rather than the League) to do drug tests? Unless it’s for drugs that ‘impair job performance’ it might not be allowed under the CBA.

        • Ark87

          The league does it to punish, we would do it to prevent that (not to expose, shame, etc either). But I also wonder what the rules are technically. Would the league expect us to report our findings to them so that they could dish out suspensions? That would be silly.

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      he wasnt blaming chip or trying to… he was saying the p[layers feel presure to grab any advantage

      • A Roy

        So, you think the Eagles have more pressure than the rest of the league to grab an advantage? Wanna buy a bridge?

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          the eagles have the most pressure in terms of conditioning and being in shape.. yes. havent you been paying attention since chip came here and installed his way of doing things? lol You want an off ramp in the middle of that bridge you are trying to sell? dumbass

          • A Roy

            Oooooh. We’re expected to be in the bestest shape in the whoooole league. Hahahahahahaha. Etc. No one else is under the pressure we are. No one’ s on the bubble to make the team, make the pro bowl or make the big paycheck. Just Kelly’s boys gave that the pressure.

            And BTW, I’ve read some of your posts already, so you don’t need to describe yourself at the end.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            you mad bro?

  • bill

    I think if it ends being Adderall, I’ll feel better about this long-term. Still stupid and wrong, but it’s more of the “trying to do too much” problem instead of the “not physically capable of cutting it without cheating” kind of problem that would leave this team with a massive hole in the Oline long-term.
    Or maybe I don’t know enough about PEDs to make the correct distinction?

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      i dont know what taking adderol in the offseason would accomplish… its taken to focus in on game plans preparing for the game and during games i bet.. not so much for offseason work outs

      • Bert’s Bells

        It’s recreational.

  • ICDogg
    • P_P_K

      Too funny!

  • Dominik

    Re: Brisco v Jimmy K

    Out of pure coincidence, I read Priscos response to Jimmy on Twitter (and of course: no, I don’t follow him):

    Nice to see local Philly writers (@JimmyKempski) try to tear my overrated-underrated Eagles apart. With work, you can watch all 32, Jimmy

    Lol. So why isn’t he working then? Dude gets paid to do so.

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      prisco is a tool bag. lol jimmy can be funny.. but he is also a bit of a tool bag.

  • CrackSammich

    My understanding is that the NFL can only say that the substance abuse policy has been violated, and cannot say what substance caused the violation. If Lane says Adderall, nobody is obligated to tell you what actually set off the test. This is why everyone says they violated for Adderall–It’s the most innocuous of the lot.

    Tighten up, Lane. It’s just the first strike. It doesn’t need to ruin your career.

  • anon

    On a positive note SEA had a bunch of players test positive for banned substances then they won a SB. I’m all for this — LJ is just a team player, it’s really our backup guys that need to step up.

    • Tumtum

      That is one way to look at it..

  • Tumtum

    Makes enough sense. The guy is a converted OLer and he has been trying to feverishly pack on pounds since. I can certainly see him juicing to get there.

    Really I mean look at the guy’s pictures. Exciting, but pretty blatant that isn’t natural build. This really sucks but TBH I would say this is the 2nd best guy for it to happen to on the OL (Todd). They are still going to lean heavy left.

  • Dominik

    Hey guys. After this bump message, wanna read something that makes you smile? Go read this:

    http://overthecap.com/best-worst-contracts-2014-washington-redskins/

    A snippet:

    They guaranteed Hatcher over $10 million including a $9 million signing bonus that would leave the Redskins with nearly $5 million in dead money in 2016 when Hatcher will be 34. There is also no protection in the contract in regards to tying salary to injury which is something that the Redskins have used with other players. Why it would not be negotiated with a player in his 30′s is a mystery.

    For a 32 year old lineman this is a pretty ridiculous contract. This is the age whereteams begin to sign such players to one and two year contracts with
    minimal salaries and guarantees.

    Oh, Dan. Please keep up your good work.

    • GEAGLE

      You know the best part? He is about to have knee surgery…. They have this all to an old dude, who is having knee surgery 4 months after signing his deal…he is set to be back for the opener, but he will have missed all offseason training…l

      It’s reaally like Jerry and Snyder compete for king Incompetant….
      ..
      Starting to think Gerruh has Alzheimer’s and Snyder suffers from Dimentia

      • Dominik

        Have to say though, not matching this offer from Danny Boy was one of the brighter moments from Jerry. Not selecting Manziel and choosing a good O-Line talent instead was another one.

        When he traded up in the 2nd, that was classic Jerrah. But the Cowboys offseason is more screwed because of the previous years of mismanagement than mistakes this year.

        I love how many important players the Cowboys lost, but I never got the argument about Hatcher. Of course it would have been great to re-sign him, but not at that price tag.

        Why the Skins pay that money for a player who had 16 sacks in 7 seasons as 34 DE (and 11 sacks last year in the 43) and play him in the 34 – well, that’s another story.

        • GEAGLE

          I hate Manziel with a passion, but I’m rooting for that kid hardcore to become great so even when it looked like Jerry was smart. He still end up looking stupid lol

          Yes, you would think Draftimg Zack Martin was the smart move!.. But with Tonys back, they actually could have justified the Manziel. Zack Martin injured Sean Lee for the year during non contact drills lol… Can’t imagine that rookie is too popular lol
          ..
          Manziels teammates probably hate him by now, considering they get asked 100 questions about Manziel every day…
          ..,
          The Giants have a lame duck coach they kept too long who is getting desperate. Changing to a new offense after all these years, sign a. Welfare version of the dream team trying to incorporate like 25 new players in a year trying to save his job…COUGHLIN making all the mistakes Andy made when we kept him two years too long..his QB are washed up Eli and Nassib.. They don’t even carry a 3rd QB… That franchise will implode. They will never be a threat again until they rebuild with new coach and new QB.. Hopefully they screw up and hire the wrong coach next so we will have an even bigger head start on this division

  • mtn_green

    The supplement producers don’t have to list ingredients. I’d assume that NFL has a list of ‘safe’ supplements tho. Then again maybe they don’t.

    • eagleyankfan

      I’m pretty sure they do…

  • eagleyankfan

    in other news … Oh Hank Baskett … what a web you’ve weaved…

    • Ark87

      What’s new with ole Hanky B?

      • SteveH

        Had an affair with a transgender model. At least thats what the headline said IDK.

        Hank had NFL ability but did so little with it. His legacy in the NFL will be the botched onside kick recovery in the super bowl. I’d feel bad for the guy if his life didn’t consist of partying and marrying playboy models.

        • D3FB

          That and the fact he made a few million dollars and got to play in the NFL(even if he was underwhelming). Not bad work if you can get it.

        • Ark87

          jeez, why? Isn’t he somewhat famous for dating a smoking hot model or something? Seems like a downgrade.

  • Bob Brewer

    Man Jimmy Bama is getting it from Pete Prisco and Mike Freeman. Good effort on calling out Mike Freeman.

    • Cafone

      link?

      • D3FB

        just go to jimmy’s twitter timeline

  • Tumtum

    So crazy the lack of notability. If this were a Phillies player shit would be spraying of the hyper speed fan.

  • jamesbondage

    Not drafting an OL may cost the team dearly…