After just the first week of the 2022 regular season, the Cowboys’ poor planning this year is already on display. The receiving corps, one of the team’s strengths in 2021, was dismantled to “save” some money. Besides, the cowboy leadership insisted ad nauseam that CeeDee Lamb was ready to be the #1 catcher in Dallas.
Well, the discourse changed with just one game. And Lamb was scapegoated at the earliest opportunity.
This is how recent statements by Stephen Jones, executive vice president of the Cowboys, reveal it. During a radio interview Monday morning, Jones discussed the performance of the receiving corps in Dallas’ loss to Tampa Bay the night before. And, in his words, he did mention Lamb.
“We have to take a step forward and do better,” Jones said on 105.3FM The Fan. “The passing game goes hand in hand: the quarterback and the receivers. Certainly, we have to be better there. CeeDee (Lamb) has to get better and work to become the No. 1 receiver that we think he can be.”
Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan regarding team’s play at wide receiver: “We’ve certainly got to step up and do better. …We’ve got to be better there. CeeDee has got to improve and work his way into being the No. 1 receiver. We think we dog.”
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 12, 2022
Let’s review what happened during the offseason. The Cowboys decided to trade Amari Cooper, their main receiver, due to his high salary and the performance he had in 2021. A performance, let’s remember, largely conditioned by the little use that offensive coordinator Kellen Moore gave him for a good part of the bell. But that was not all.
The Cowboys also decided to extend the contract of Michael Gallup, who missed much of last season with various injuries. In fact, the receiver continues to recover from the injury he suffered last January, and it is estimated that he can return in the course of the next three weeks. In addition, Dallas also released Cedrick Wilson Jr., who was a great offensive asset last season, in free agency.
Following these moves, CeeDee Lamb became the Cowboys’ primary receiver. Aside from Lamb, Gallup, Noah Brown and the injured James Washington, Dallas doesn’t have any receivers with proven NFL experience right now. And that sooner or later was going to come out.
Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb caught 18.2% of his targets (2-of-11) vs. Buccaneers, the lowest rate of the 89 players who saw five or more targets in Week 1. Bucs undercut many of team’s routes. He’ll look to find better rhythm, separation Sunday vs. Bengals. pic.twitter.com/9ssNQcpT6w
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 14, 2022
Change of speech in the leadership around Lamb
It’s true that CeeDee Lamb was the Cowboys’ best receiver last season, posting 79 receptions for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns. However, the first-round pick in the 2020 Draft had yet to improve aspects of his game. Despite this, the Dallas front office opted to do without Amari Cooper and give the #1 receiver reins to Lamb.
But that is not all. The Cowboys’ front office repeated throughout the offseason and preseason that Lamb was ready to be Dallas’ top receiver. Jerry Jones even said a few months ago that Lamb would be better than Cooper.
Trending: Jerry Jones says that CeeDee Lamb will be an upgrade over Amari Cooper as WR1:
Jones said that’s no knock on Cooper, but that Lamb has the makings of a complete No. 1 receiver in “production, in the huddle and off the field.”
Via: Star-Telegram and @ProFootballTalk
— DFA Football (@dfafootball1) May 28, 2022
Now, as we can see, the discourse changed.
Against Tampa Bay, CeeDee Lamb had just 2 receptions for 29 yards. The young receiver continued to show the same flaws as last season: dropped passes and an obvious lack of connection with Dak Prescott. Besides, since Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup were not there as in 2021, the rival defense focused on covering Lamb. Not to mention Prescott’s poor performance while he was on the field.
Lamb’s lack of preparation to take on more weight in the cowboy attack was something to behold. However, in an effort to save money, Cowboys officials opted to weaken their strongest unit and throw a receiver who still needs development to the Lions. And while they repeated ad nauseam that Lamb was ready for the role, now they’re retracting his words and partially blaming #88 for Sunday’s debacle.
It will remain to be seen in the coming weeks if CeeDee Lamb manages to improve her performance and erase her performance against the Bucs. However, it will be difficult for Dallas’ passing game to improve due to the state of the offensive line and the loss of Dak Prescott. The season is just beginning, it’s true. But the picture is not encouraging at all.
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Stephen Jones criticizes CeeDee Lamb, and claims he’s not the catcher yet