At this point in the season, teams are looking for any possible advantage to survive and advance to the next round of the postseason. Could kickoff returner Gerard Lawson, someone who wasn't on the roster until December 24, be someone who makes a difference for the Eagles on Sunday in the wild card round of the playoffs against the Packers?
Lawson returned two kickoffs for 48 yards last Sunday against the Cowboys. In the process, Lawson displayed some burst as he hit the hole and was strong enough to brush past some arm tackles for extra yards.
"I'm just trying to go out there and what I normally do. I wasn't trying to make any plays, just hit the hole. If I see it, I just try to hit it," Lawson said. "That's pretty much all I can say about that. Just take advantage of the opportunity and make it happen."
Special teams coordinator Bobby April was pleased with Lawson's performance and thought that he could have done more with some better blocking.
"I thought he did a good job. He played tough and he played tough on the coverage. He's what we expected," April said. "He's a tough guy, he's a hungry guy and that makes a lot of difference."
Lawson was released by the Browns in training camp shortly after an off-the-field incident. He caught on with the UFL's Hartford Colonials. Lawson said he thought that he would be signed by an NFL team shortly after the UFL season ended in late November, but wasn't. Just days after watching the Eagles' incredible comeback win over the Giants from home, Lawson got a call that the Eagles wanted to work him out.
"I thought they were going to work me out and that was going to be it," said Lawson, who is in his third NFL season. "They signed me and I was able to come in and show my talents. It's really been a roller coaster for me. I've just been trying to take it in stride and not look back."
The Eagles needed a new kickoff returner after rookie Jorrick Calvin was placed on injured reserve with a back injury that required surgery. Lawson fit the bill. On Sunday, he will suit up in his first-career playoff game. Now, he just needs a real locker.
In the middle of the locker room at the NovaCare Complex are portable lockers which are mostly inhabited by practice squad players ... and Lawson.
"I'll take it any way I can get it. I'm new to the team, so this is where they threw me," Lawson said. "I'm not even complaining about it. It's all good."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 8:00 p.m., January 7