Ask anyone in the Dallas Cowboys organization how CeeDee Lamb looks in his first training camp, and you’ll have to pardon the smile that precedes the praise. The rookie first-round pick is off to the races in North Texas, drawing the awe of all involved, especially head coach Mike McCarthy. It’s the guy throwing him the ball who gets to have all the fun though, and Dak Prescott loves what he’s seeing from the former Consensus All-American — despite the team having lacked a minicamp due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not slowed Lamb’s first-year acclimation one iota, as he continues to cement expectations he’ll play a big part in what the Cowboys have cooking offensively for 2020.
“He’s a smart kid — a smart individual,” Prescott told media on Thursday. “He’s been picking it all up, whether it’s adjustments from the formations and plays, that hasn’t slowed him down or slowed his game down any bit at all. I mean, he’s just an athletic player — very, very gifted [with] good hands.
“He has a great feel for the game. I think that’s probably the most impressive thing, to be a young rookie playing in the slot and just have a feel for the game and know where to be. I think that’s going to go a long way and serve him really well in this league.”
And as far as having trust with a wideout goes, having now seen Lamb at practice, Prescott believes it’ll arrive sooner than later.
“Not too long,” said the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback. “Not too long when a guy is going out there and lining up in the right place, running the right routes, [and] doing the right things. I think that trust picks up and that trusts happens fast. I think you saw it with Amari Cooper a few years ago.
“Great players have a way of getting open and that always makes that level of trust speed up even faster. These guys are smart individuals and they care about the game of football. It’s been easy and it’s been fun. The trust is definitely gaining, whether it’s a go ball, whether it’s adjusted plays, he’s gaining that trust.
“He’s somebody, like I said, he’s going to do well for us this season and in the future.”
“CeeDee, obviously everyone sees the talent,” Moore said on Thursday. “Everyone knows the talent, everyone has watched plenty of Oklahoma through the years. But I think he’s a really smart football player. He has a great feel for the game and a lot of instincts to him that just come naturally.
“Hopefully we can build on that and we’re really excited for him.
Cooper made it clear early in training camp he believes the Cowboys can field three 1,000-yard receivers in 2020, and McCarthy doesn’t disagree, instead noting he “loves the way” Cooper thinks. There are many others who are beginning to feel the same way after seeing Lamb in early action, but when the coordinator himself starts leaning in that direction — you know it’s real.
“We’ve got a crew,” said Moore of the Cowboys three-headed hydra at receiver. “It’s a lot of fun. They’re all really versatile which is fun. As we build this thing we’re in the install phase right now, so they’re going through more contact, introducing things for the first time, really having a feel but once we continue to build this thing and get all accustomed to each other, I think that’s the exciting part about this.
“Those guys can line up anywhere.”
Lamb will primarily be tasked with slot duty to help create mismatches, but will also see reps outside the hashes as well at times, as Cooper has been known dominate in the slot from time to time. No matter where Lamb lines up though, he’s proven himself as slippery as they come — a receiver known for racking up yards after the catch as would-be tacklers slide off of him as if he’s dipped in grandma’s bucket of lard. With such innate ability to dominate on the field, for Lamb, his success or lack thereof in 2020 will truly boil down to his understanding of the minutiae at the NFL level.
“I think it’s just watching or seeing him do so many of these things for the first time and there’s subtle, minor tweaks here and there,” said Moore. “But it’s his first time, and he has some great savvy so far in camp — just understanding situations and situational football, being in the red zone, being in third-down situations. You can tell he’s got a knack for it and understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
And when it comes to possibly ending the season with three 1,000-yard wideouts? Count Michael Gallup in for that prediction.
“When we drafted [Lamb], I’m thinking already Amari going over 1,000 yards,” said Gallup in a recent Q&A with media. “I went over 1,000 yards. And then you pick up one of the best wide receivers in the draft coming out. That’s a three-headed monster.”