Philadelphia Eagles News

Avant, Johnson Ready Without Maclin

Wide receiver Jason Avant sat at his locker and looked at the highlights from Thursday's night's Giants-Panthers game that were being shown on the TV hung up high on the wall across from him. Avant noted that the Giants were without starting wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Ramses Barden filled in for Nicks and had nine catches for 138 yards in a 36-7 rout of the Panthers.

Avant and rookie Damaris Johnson will look to do the same with starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin ruled out for Sunday's game against Arizona with a hip injury.

"We have a lot of capable guys. That's why we look to Training Camp so we can give everyone reps and be comfortable with those guys," Avant said after practice Friday. "In this league, to make that 53-man roster you are a good player so I think we have capable guys here to do it."

Head coach Andy Reid said that he will mix and match personnel. Johnson is listed as the No. 2 X-receiver on the depth chart behind Maclin.

"They're definitely giving me more playing time to go out there and show what I can do," Johnson said. "I'm really excited about going out and playing this week. It shows that the coaches have a lot of confidence in me. I'm just trying to go out there and make a few plays."

Avant has started 33 games in his career, but is typically the team's slot receiver. He said playing on the outside he has to study film differently because there are other ways to get open and he must look at coverages through a different prism.

Johnson is also the team's punt returner and Reid said that his role there will not change. He had one catch for 13 yards last week against the Ravens, but it converted a third-down situation on a game-tying drive in the third quarter.

"It's helping me get confidence just knowing that Mike (Vick) believes in me, (Marty Mornhinweg) believes in me just to give me a shot to catch the ball on third down and show what I can do," Johnson said.

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