49ers opponents: Eagles OT Lane Johnson suspended 4 games for PED violation, per report

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers will face a Philadelphia Eagles squad playing at least one man short in Week 4. The Eagles are expected to be without Lane Johnson following a 4-game PED suspension.

Only moments after I wrote about the need for NFL players to fill out a therapeutic use exemption, we have a report that a member of the Philadelphia Eagles failed a drug test. According to Paul Domowitch, second year offensive tackle Lane Johnson will be suspended the first four games of the 2014 season for a failed PED test. This would not be connected to the therapeutic use exemption, as he would have had to apply for a 2013-14 exemption a year ago.

I bring this up on Niners Nation because the 49ers will host the Eagles Week 4. Well, I bring it up because of that, and the fact that there isn't a whole lot else going on right now! But given that this means the Eagles will be using a replacement at right tackle, it is noteworthy for 49ers fans.

Our friends at Bleeding Green Nation said that Allen Barbre will probably handle right tackle duties while Johnson is out. Barbre appears to be the team's primary reserve lineman, but the unit did not really need him in 2013. They got mostly healthy returns from their starting unit, with left tackle Jason Peters the only one who missed noticeable time in games (he left a couple games with injuries).

The Eagles selected Johnson with the fourth pick of the first round last year. He had some inconsistencies his rookie year, but the Eagles were likely expecting him to take a big step forward. I suppose given Johnson's inconsistency last season, Barbre might not be a huge downgrade in the short term. Where it does create an issue is that you've got a new guy in the mix with a group that spent a lot of time figuring out how they work together in game action. By Week 4, Barbre should be fairly settled in, but it's not something the Eagles wanted to deal with at any point.

Ahmad Brooks plays opposite the right tackle, but when the 49ers move into the nickel this year, I do wonder how much the team might mix it up, whether it be with Corey Lemonier rotating with Brooks, or Tank Carradine getting the occasional bit of edge work. I suspect Tank ends up inside replacing Justin Smith or Ray McDonald on occasion, but the 49ers have a lot of flexibility with their front four in the nickel. I wouldn't mind seeing Corey Lemonier blowing past Allen Barbre for the sack that slows down this potentially potent Eagles offense.

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