PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Allen Barbre wishes the situation could be better as to how he became the Eagles’ starting right tackle. But after bouncing around in the NFL for seven years, you learn never to question opportunities. You grab them and take them as fast as you can.
The hulking 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman out of Missouri Southern State is grateful he’s being given this chance to start the first four games of the Eagles’ 2014 season, replacing 2013 first-round pick Lane Johnson, who’ll serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy.
Barbre, who’s versatile enough to play both guard positions, stepped in and played well replacing All Pro left tackle Jason Peters when he was injured against Green Bay last year.
“I’m just going out and working hard every day, finding something to get better at and keep working on it,” Barbre said. “I really don’t concern myself with too much of anything else, only the things that I can control. What I can control is playing hard and taking care of myself and my business.”
Johnson’s suspension does not begin until after the pre-season is over on August 29, the Eagles’ last pre-season game against the New York Jets. But it’s given Barbre the chance to practice with the Eagles’ first-team offensive line.
He played 52 snaps against Green Bay. He has exhibited great feet, can get down field and is as good if not a better pass blocker than Johnson. His issues may come with run blocking.
“I don’t think I ever got bull rushed,” Barbre is quick to correct. “There always little things you need to work on, but working on the right side, everything is just flipped for me. It’s all flipped in your head, and it’s not quite as bad as someone being right handed and moved to the left. It’s definitely awkward, something you have to get used to.”
This off-season, the Eagles signed Barbre to a three-year contract extension, which gives some security for someone Chip Kelly would have been challenging for a starting spot anyway even if Johnson wasn’t suspended.
“I don’t even look at it as having additional peace of mind and [job] security, I think if you ever get a sense of entitlement, or you think that you’ve made it, you’re probably on your way out,” Barbre said. “I definitely can’t afford to think that way. I just have to work hard every day and continue working hard.”
Barbre is quick to remind you he had one of the fastest 40 times at the NFL Combine—before Lane Johnson broke it.