The Dallas Cowboys have undergone a lot of changes on offense this offseason. They let their left guard, Connor Williams, leave in free agency. They released their right tackle, La'el Collins. And they traded their No. 1 wide receiver, Amari Cooper.
The hope is that they've got replacements for the first two players in the form of first-round pick Tyler Smith and swing tackle Terence Steele. Whether or not those players are capable of picking up the slack remains to be seen. With Cooper out the door and Michael Gallup still on the mend from an ACL tear, it will be up to third-year wideout CeeDee Lamb to be the offense's unquestioned top target in the passing game.
Cooper, for one, thinks Lamb is up for the challenge.
"CeeDee's been ready," Cooper said during an appearance on 96.7 The Ticket, according to David Helman of Fox Sports. "Again, it's just about opportunity. I think if Kellen (Moore) decides to feature him, he's definitely ready to step up. CeeDee is a playmaker. I'm just reminded of that Vikings game, when we were breaking the huddle. He was ready, then. He was like, 'I want this fade.' We've all seen what he's able to do when you throw him the fade. He's been ready. He's going to make the plays when his jersey number is called, and I can't wait to see it happen."
Cooper is referring to Dallas' Week 9 victory over Minnesota, which came with Cooper Rush under center in place of Dak Prescott. Lamb tried to change what ended up being the game-winning play in the huddle, only for (Amari) Cooper to rebuff him and eventually catch an end zone fade from Rush.
That game marked one of Cooper's best performances of the season, but on the year as a whole, he was eclipsed by Lamb as Prescott's No. 1 target. Lamb averaged 7.5 targets per game to Cooper's 6.9 per game, and he surpassed Cooper in catches, yards, first downs, explosive plays, catch rate, targets and yards per route run, and yards after catch per reception. The Cowboys clearly feel he is ready for an even larger role as he heads into Year 3 of his NFL career, and they're going to need him to be even better than he's been through his first two years if they're going to weather both the absence of Cooper and the time until Gallup returns to the field. His predecessor is confident that Lamb will be able to do just that.