Jeremy Maclin was recently asked about Chip Kelly's offense and which skill-position players would thrive in it. The Eagles wide receiver did not mention obvious names such as DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, or even himself. He singled out Damaris Johnson, the small and speedy receiver who made the roster last season as an undrafted rookie but hardly did enough to suggest a quantum leap in Year 2. Kelly's offense, though, offers a new dynamic. While details such as scheme and starting quarterback are great unknowns, the players, after more than a month of workouts, have intimated that they know enough about the offense to project. And for Johnson, the system is pretty much as he expected when the Eagles hired Kelly away from the University of Oregon in January. "When I heard that Coach Kelly got hired, the one thing that just lit up in my mind was thinking, 'Oh, man, it's going to be a spread offense. He's going to give guys the chance to have the ball in space, and I know that that works to my advantage,' " Johnson said Wednesday. Jackson and Maclin will likely be the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers. But there's no reason to think that Johnson can't be the third option, although there will be plenty of competition for catches with three starting-caliber tight ends and three ball-catching running backs. Johnson's forte has always been what he could do once the ball was in his hands. He set the NCAA record for all-purpose yards (7,796) at Tulsa despite missing his senior season after being suspended for his involvement in a merchandise scam at Macy's. Last season, he averaged a promising 11.2 yards per punt return that included a 98-yard return for a touchdown against the Cowboys. He also averaged 51/2 yards after his 19 catches, a respectable number he could certainly improve upon, and one he said he would. "I always say, 'Who wants to get hit?' " Johnson said. "That's how I look at it. I don't want to get tackled, so I'm trying to dodge the guys as much as I can, put a move on them, and just get yards after the catch."
Damaris Johnson sees opportunity in Eagles offense
Philly.com | May 23