A week from now the Dallas Cowboys will be squarely in the middle of training camp out in Oxnard, California. There are a number of questions about this team that need to be answered while they are on the west coast and one of the biggest is at the wide receiver position. What is unknown at receiver is the depth throughout the group. There is no doubt who the alpha of the group is as CeeDee Lamb is the unquestioned number one entering his third season in the NFL.
If you recall last year, Lamb was the story throughout camp and while he certainly took a step throughout the 2021 season he did not take the reins the way many people would have liked to see. A big reason for this, not at all in a negative way, was Amari Cooper’s presence as he obviously commanded a huge role within the offense.
As the 2021 season wore on, though, we saw Cooper’s utilization become more erratic as it relates to the decisions that offensive coordinator Kellen Moore seemed to be making. In speaking on The Ticket on Friday, Cooper hinted at some of that.
Ex-Cowboys WR Amari Cooper to @dfwticket on CeeDee Lamb's readiness to be No. 1 WR: "CeeDee's been ready. [laughs] CeeDee's been ready. 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."— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) July 22, 2022
Cooper has never been the type of player to talk trash or call anybody out, in fact many have used how quiet he is as a demerit of sorts against him when evaluating him against other receivers. That is important context here. Seeing how Cooper noted that the idea of Lamb becoming the number one wide receiver is about opportunity and that he specifically said “I think if Kellen decides to feature him” it isn’t difficult to read between those lines and see that Cooper feels as if he was maybe not utilized in that fashion all the time.
It is natural for players to want to be utilized as much as possible and Cooper’s credentials speak for themselves. He took over a few games while in a Cowboys uniform, but he also faded at points which is why people began this in-and-out sort of wonderment about him down the stretch as far back as the 2019 season (Moore’s first as coordinator by the way).
Again, this wasn’t Cooper talking poorly about the Cowboys, Moore, or anything in between, but it is hard not to notice what he said and wonder just what the future of this offense holds for Lamb.