Damaris Johnson Introduced Himself To The NFL Last ThursdayBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Wide Receivers Thursday, August 16th, 2012
It was an off season workout and the Birds wide receivers were working on this triple-move route, that DeSean Jackson has made a part of his repertoire. It’s called a double-post route and ultra-speed is a prerequisite. As I stood there and watched, I saw two Eagles wide receivers, who ran the route well, Jackson and Damaris Johnson. It was hard for me to decide who ran it best, Jackson or Johnson this free agent whom nobody knew anything about.
I’m predicting right now, that Johnson is going to be a big part of the Eagles offense. It’s going to make the Eagles passing offense much better and much more explosive. Hopefully this young man can deal with the big NFL hits and stay healthy.
Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg are two of the NFL’s best game planners. Many times they manufacture yardage and production for the Eagles offense with or without major talent. If you give them two players that are nearly impossible to cover one-on-one, it’s going to mean trouble for opposing NFL defenses. The speed and quickness of Jackson and Johnson will present a major problem.
I have seen Reid and Mornhinweg salivating as they start tinkering with packages with Johnson in it. Teams are going to be focused on defending Jackson’s speed when they realize they don’t have anybody who can cover Johnson one-on-one. There wasn’t a cornerback on the Eagles roster who was able to cover the little guy with any consistency during OTA’s and training camp. Even Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who is their best cover corner, couldn’t handle Johnson’s quickness.
Let’s go back to that double route session I was talking to you about. The receiver heads straight downfield and makes an inside cut to the post. He takes four or five steps toward the post at full speed, then cuts back outside like he’s running a post corner. The cornerback is sure he knows what the route is now, but to his shock the wide receiver sells him on the impression that he’s going to the corner, then comes back to the post.
It’s an ankle breaker. If you don’t believe it then go ask Keenan Lewis of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who is currently their starting right cornerback. He was trying to cover Johnson when the wide receiver ran the double post route against him.
Lewis fell on the ground on the route and Johnson was so open that quarterback Nick Foles was able to take two seconds to find him after escaping a pass rush, then he underthrew the ball and Lewis still couldn’t recover to make the play. It was a 70-yard touchdown play and the rest of the NFL had been introduced to Damaris Johnson.
All I could do was smile when I saw the ultra-fast and quick free agent run the route during the OTA’s. I could tell this was going to be an ankle breaker. This little dude is one of the quickest players, I’ve ever seen. Reid and Morningweg have got to be praying that he stays healthy because they are going to frustrate defenses by adding him to the bevy of weapons they already have.
Former Eagles wide receiver great, Mike Quick used to run the post corner against cornerbacks and break their ankles. The key to the route was how well the wide receiver sold the post route. If he hits the accelerator to the post and gets the cornerback to believe he’s running as hard as he can and committed to beating him on the post route, the cornerback will swallow the bait.
The cornerback swallows the bait when he raises his center of gravity up, in order to run full speed to the post. A player drops his center of gravity when he’s going to change direction, but raises it in order to run at full speed.
Of course he sells the post, then goes back to the corner on the post corner route. On the double-post route, the wide receiver sells the post, then he sells the corner and then comes back to the post. It’s a tough route to cover, if the wide receiver is fast enough to run it quickly enough in order to give the quarterback time to get the throw off.
That little bitty rookie wide receiver gets in and out of his cuts quicker than any receiver on the Eagles roster, maybe quicker than any receiver in the league. Still I look at how small he is and wonder whether he can stay healthy or not.
Did I mention that Johnson is going to be trouble for opposing teams on punt returns as well?
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