By Michael Donovan

Lots of Eagles fans are surprised — make that stunned — by how poorly center Jason Kelce has played this year.

The normally rock-solid Kelce has had a boatload of penalties and terrible snaps in the gun that have added to the ineffectiveness of the banged-up offensive line.

Well, Eagles tackle Lane Johnson has figured it out.

“He may not want to admit it, but I think it’s one of the biggest differences is having different guards in there. It’s hard to change your playing style up whenever you’ve been with those guys for three or four years, and just all of a sudden in one season get it all right,” Johnson told

“He’s used to playing at a high level, but I think just having different guards and different guys in there is different. You can practice all you want, but it’s a lot different when you get in there in a game and he’s so used to playing next to Todd [Herremans], next to Evan [Mathis], playing next to them and kind of getting in rhythm with them. That’s probably the biggest difference I would say for him.”

Kelce believes that he’s more mobile and in better shape than he has been at any other time in his career, and yet the problems remain. The 28-year-old, as he did earlier in the season, blamed overthinking as one of the main reasons he is not playing up to his standards. There seems to be one fairly obvious reason for that.

“It is different when you have two different guards,” said Johnson. “Kelce is really good at getting guys cut off, circle-reaching guys and getting away fast. Sometimes his athleticism gets the best of him because sometimes he’ll overdo things and I think it’s just been how he’s been accustomed to doing it the previous two years, and it’s just been different with different people in there.”

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