Reporting Matt Leon
By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles will be on the road on Sunday night as they look to snap their seven-game losing streak with a prime time game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Because of injury and ineffectiveness, the Eagles have had to lean on several younger players this season, including rookie punt returner/wide receiver Damaris Johnson.
“I think I’ve played pretty good,” Johnson tells KYW Newsradio. “Just going in, everything was kind of slow at first, just getting adjusted to the game speed. My teammates, they helped my confidence, and I think now I’m just doing a better job than I did in the beginning of the season and I’m just trying to go out and just add another dimension for our team.”
Listen To Podcast With Damaris Johnson:
Johnson has primarily been a punt returner this season, but he has also turned some heads in the passing game when he has gotten opportunities, catching 12 balls for 190 yards (15.8 average).
As far as the punt returning, it was a slow start for Johnson – he averaged just five yards a return through the first four games. But his three longest returns have come in the last four games (16, 18 and 20 yards) and he is now averaging 8.8 yards a return on the season. Johnson says they are a work in progress.
“We practice hard and we just haven’t been executing,” Johnson says. “Last week we executed a little better and we had some better returns. All 11 guys are working pretty hard so we can break one sooner or later.”
Johnson signed as the Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Tulsa, where he set the NCAA record for career all-purpose yardage (7,796). He talks about the biggest lesson he has learned as a pro.
“It’s a long season,” Johnson says. “You can have a lot of ups and a lot of downs. But you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low, just got to stick with it and just finish it out and grind it out.”
The Eagles and the Cowboys kick-off at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.