Eagles' Lane Johnson ready to face Patriots, stands by comments

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is expecting some fan backlash for his pointed comments toward the New England Patriots organization when his team travels to Foxborough, Massachusetts, for Thursday's preseason game against the team Philadelphia defeated in Super Bowl LII.

"Oh yeah. I hope so. I hope they raise hell," Johnson said at the conclusion of training camp Tuesday. "They can cuss me, they can say whatever they want. At the end of the day, I'm not blocking them, I'm blocking guys on the edge, so it really doesn't matter what they say.

"I know that I'm not going to be well-liked, this team is not going to be well-liked going there, so it's going to basically bring out our best."

Johnson has taken aim at the Patriots on several occasions, describing them as a "fear-based organization" with players who "act like f---ing robots." He has also asserted that Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick talked trash to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and coach Doug Pederson prior to the Super Bowl.

"I just felt like we weren't even given a chance going into the game. I felt like we were disrespected, and we were by them," Johnson said. "I made plenty of comments about why I said what I said. It's not like I was coming out of the blue just to talk. It's because I felt like I've been disrespected and the team's been disrespected. It's not like I'm coming out here running my mouth because I want to. No other teams really came out and ran their mouth."

Belichick was asked about Johnson's criticisms of the team during his news conference Tuesday.

"We're focused on what we're doing. We need to have a good practice today and try to improve our team today," he said. "That's what we're going to do."

Johnson believes he knows why his comments have resonated.

"People can discredit it all they want. I think it's why I get so much recognition is because a lot of it is true and they don't want to accept it. At the end of the day, man, I'm over it," Johnson said. "... It's a totally different year.

"I am excited to go play against a great team. Anytime you go against a great team, it's going to bring out the best in yourself and in them, and that's what we need, even if it's a preseason game, so Week 1 we don't have anything that surprises us."

The Eagles' starters will likely get about a quarter-and-a-half of work Thursday, per Johnson, enough time to reacquaint themselves with their Super Bowl foe.

"I'm ready. I've been waiting on this since the Super Bowl was over with," he said. "So, it's time."