With a receiving corps that largely underwhelmed against the Buccaneers, many have to up their game against the Bengals in Week 2 with CeeDee Lamb in the firing line.
Coming into the season, the most significant question mark on the Dallas offense was how the receivers and Dak Prescott work together and cope without Amari Cooper and Cedric Wilson.
The answer was found quickly on Sunday night. Not well. CeeDee Lamb was thrust into the Cowboys' undisputed number one receiver role with Cooper leaving, given he had 79 catches for 1,102 and six touchdowns last season.
Well, in his first outing against a Todd Bowles defense, which is notoriously tough to score against, they blanketed him. Lamb was targeted on 11 occasions and caught just two balls for 29 yards, having a catch percentage of just 18.2. If he is to be the number one receiver for Dallas, that cannot be happening regularly.
“That was Week 1. We understand [the assignment] and we've got to get better.”
– CeeDee Lamb on turning the page to W2 matchup between #Cowboys vs Bengals … absent Dak Prescott
“We have 16 games left.” pic.twitter.com/v5OVVdoEFB
Noah Brown caught five of his nine passes for 68 yards, and tight end Dalton Schultz who caught seven of his nine targets for 62 yards, were the other serviceable players on offense.
Dennis Houston and Simi Fehoko combined for eight targets, four catches, and 32 yards. Given that both are in the infancy of their pro football careers, we can't expect them to hit the ground running against a tough Tampa defense.
A huge upturn in output is needed against the Bengals on Sunday, but everyone on the planet knows this anyway. It will be a receiver by committee in 2022, requiring every player on the roster to do their fair share of the workload.
Not that yards are the best way to evaluate things, but this made me curious so I looked.
In 33 career games with the Dallas Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb has "only" hit 100 yards receiving a handful of times.
Literally a handful. 5. https://t.co/4Dz0iRBkOx
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) September 15, 2022
Adding James Washington and Michael Gallup over the next few weeks will surely help, but right now, it is the rookies and untried players that Cooper Rush and Kellen Moore have to lean on. The run game is vital to take the pressure off, but if it can't be established, Lamb, Brown, Houston, and Schultz will need to get separation and make plays.
Easier said than done, but this is pro football. If the Cowboys are going to have any hope on Sunday, the receiver room will have to have a huge upturn in form, and for many, that starts with CeeDee Lamb.