One of the most fascinating matchups in the NFC Championship will be played in the trenches.
The Eagles are set to host the 49ers on Sunday in the conference title game between the two unequivocal top teams in the NFC. Philly has a high-flying offense, while San Francisco’s defense is the best in the league. It’s a real unstoppable force meets immovable object situation.
San Francisco has an impressive defensive front, headlined by star edge rusher Nick Bosa. One of the biggest keys to victory for any team is keeping Bosa somewhat at bay, and the Eagles are fortunate to have a right tackle capable of doing that in Lane Johnson.
A seasoned veteran in his 10th year, Johnson has put together one of the best campaigns of his career, which resulted in first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections.
His biggest assignment, Bosa, awaits him, and Johnson’s Eagles teammate, Brandon Graham, told “Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team” that he’s confident in his lineman.
“Oh man, I’m gonna put my money on Lane all day (to win that battle),” Graham said. “Because I know Lane is out here making his groin injury look easy. I know for him, it just means a lot to him. I know that he’s going to work his butt off and I’m going to make sure we keep sharpening each other.”
Johnson tore his adductor on Dec. 24, but put off surgery so he could play in the postseason. He missed the final two weeks of the regular season, but returned against the Giants and played 96 percent of offensive snaps.
Graham gets to face Johnson plenty in practice, so the Eagles defensive end is well aware of how tough of a customer the tackle is. He’s hoping that all the time they spend going against each other will help to have Johnson ready to face Bosa.
“Oh yeah, man,” Graham responded when asked if he’s beaten Johnson in practice before. “That’s why I feel like he’s so good, because we’ve all been sharpening each other. I’ve been playing with him for years and he’s finally getting his just due, but I’ve been telling him to keep committed to keep being you. Don’t worry about what they ain’t seeing yet – it’s going to come at the right time.
“And look at it, 14-3 season, (Johnson) being a first-team All-Pro, all that stuff. People recognize you and are seeing you, so stay being that. Stay being you.”