Lane Johnson is starting to show he’s one of the fastest offensive linemen in the NFL. Fast off the ball, that is. And the Philadelphia Eagles right tackle’s early movements continue to be under scrutiny by analysts and fans.
Lane Johnson Accused of Avoiding False Start Calls
Captured in slow motion by NFL analyst Doug Farrar of USA Today, the NFC champion right tackle is seen kicking his right foot back to set up his pass protection positioning. But the point of contention is that Johnson starts lifting his knee and beginning his kick before the ball is snapped.
This is apparently not a false start! pic.twitter.com/Odaf7R60AX
— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) September 26, 2023
And it sparked some strong reactions online about whether Johnson should be called for a five-yard penalty — including a “This crap needs to stop” rant from one video editor.
Shocker Lane Johnson is lining up exactly where Jawaan Taylor did this whole drive not called for one penalty! This crap needs to stop @NFLOfficiating 😡
— Brad Henson Productions (@BradHensonPro) September 25, 2023
And that early jump elicits comparisons to Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who was called for early movement in his game against the Chicago Bears.
Jawaan Taylor is screaming at his TV right now at Lane Johnson.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 26, 2023
Other fans slapped Johnson with the “cheater” label.
Weekly reminder that Lane Johnson is a cheater, and now other cheaters are following his lead. https://t.co/VWTm4K6eqs
— Juice TD Tracker (0) (@JuszczykFan) September 26, 2023
Johnson Under Constant Scrutiny for Fast Movements
Johnson, again, has become a rare master of the split-second positioning. And he’s drawn the critique and ire of others, from NFL fans to even league insiders.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk is one who has given Johnson new titles.
Not only did Florio call him on the split-second early start, but how he “has perfected the art of leaving early and not being penalized” in a September 14 column.
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Before the Monday Night Football contest at Tampa Bay on September 25, Florio wondered why the league was ignoring Johnson’s early advantage.
“There’s a skill to it. He needs to know when the ball is going to be snapped, and he needs to start at the right time so that it’s not blatant. (Then again, after last week, maybe Johnson could leave even earlier.) If the officials aren’t going to call it, why not do it?” Florio asked. “Every team should do it. Especially if the NFL isn’t going to do anything about it.”
He added the NFL doesn’t want to end the practice of an offensive lineman jumping quick off the ball. One reason is the concern of quarterback safety — who Johnson is required to block for and protect.
“We think the NFL wants to keep quarterbacks healthy. At a time when defensive linemen are generally better than offensive linemen, the offensive linemen need some help. From false starts not flagged to holding fouls not called, quarterbacks are less likely to get hit — and less likely to get hurt,” Florio wrote.
Oh, two games in, and Johnson is yet to allow a sack so far this season.
Johnson has become one of the more dominating trench protectors in the league with four Pro Bowls in tow. His rapid feet stem from his 4.72 40-yard dash time. But now, his feet are looking too quick and have become a recent point of contention across NFL circles.