With three drops in last week's victory over the New York Giants, CeeDee Lamb is facing some unusual criticism in recent days. But while the Cowboys' receiver did struggle on Sunday, is his overall season and career progress now being treated too harshly?
Prior to Week 15 Lamb had just five drops in 13 games. With 109 targets on the year, that gave him a drop percentage of just 4.6%.
Of the NFL's players with 100 or more targets so far in 2021, Lamb's prior mark was on par or lower than some of the game's best receivers.
- Ja'Marr Chase – 10.8%
- Cooper Kupp – 5.3%
- Terry McLaurin – 4.7%
- Keenan Allen – 4.5%
- Justin Jefferson – 3.6%
Even with the last game now factoring in, Lamb's drop percentage only goes up to 6.8% on the year. Those three drops in New York were certainly a bad at the office, but hardly representative of CeeDee's entire season.
In fact, even after Sunday, Lamb's still showing progress from his rookie season. Last year CeeDee finished with a 7.2% drop rate and should hopefully come in below that mark in 2021. He's already set new career highs in receiving yards and touchdowns and has three games left to add to those margins.
This isn't to say that Lamb doesn't deserve some negative feedback from the Giants game. We all get that when we don't perform in our jobs. Thankfully, CeeDee is fully aware of the need to improve.
Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb: “I played terrible, to be honest. I feel like I could play better. I had three drops, something like that. I feel like I could’ve played better.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 19, 2021
With his team assured to make the playoffs and expecting at least one home game, Lamb knows he has to put last week behind him and tighten up for the tournament. But frankly, he's hardly alone in this as the entire Cowboys offense has been lackluster since their six-game win streak ended.
Nobody is denying the need for improvement, least of all Lamb, Dak Prescott, or the other players and coaches. But the point today is to make sure we're not letting recent frustration cloud our judgment of the overall product.
CeeDee Lamb can and should do better than last Sunday. We know that because he's been doing it all season long; this last game was far more of an anomaly than some are making it out to be. And as we saw above, he's hardly out of step with other top NFL receivers.