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Is Johnson The Next Rookie To Deliver?

Last Monday night, Bryce Brown rushed for 178 yards, more than any other rookie in a single game in Eagles history.

Brown took advantage of an opportunity presented to him when LeSean McCoy was sidelined with a concussion.

Now, another rookie at a skill position will see an expanded role for the Eagles. Damaris Johnson, a rookie free agent wide receiver, will be counted upon more after DeSean Jackson's season-ending rib injury.

"I prepare every week just like I'm a starter," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to better myself. I'm trying to go out and make plays. I'm just trying to take advantage of all of the opportunities that I have."

It's not the first time that Johnson has been called upon to help as a receiver this season. In the Week 3 game at Arizona, Johnson played more snaps for an injured Jeremy Maclin and caught a season-high five passes for 84 yards. For the year, Johnson has 12 receptions for 190 yards. The NCAA's all-time leader in all-purpose yardage, Johnson has been the primary punt returner and is averaging 8.8 yards per return.

"I'm just trying to add another dimension for the team and just hopefully we can come out with a win," Johnson said.

It will be interesting to see how opposing defenses gameplan for the Eagles without Jackson. Typically, the safeties will line up 20 yards down the field to eliminate the big play. Johnson may not have Jackson's speed, but he is shifty and quick and capable of making the big play. In fact, he and quarterback Nick Foles already have a good rapport. Johnson caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from Foles in the preseason.

"He's a guy that definitely stretches the defense," Johnson said of Jackson. "Now we just need to go other ways just to make that happen. I think the coaches are going to come up with a good gameplan so we can do that.

"I think I can do it a little bit. Maybe not as much as (Jackson). I'm trying to get there."

Johnson and Brown were roommates during the offseason OTAs and developed a strong bond. He was not surprised by Brown's breakout performance.

"It was great to see him have a big game. He deserved it," Johnson said. "He works hard. He prepares hard. I think everybody is going to expect and see a lot more out of him."

Now, Johnson will get to see if he can have a big game of his own in primetime on Sunday night in Dallas.

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