Coach Mike McCarthy has introduced a drill in practice called “Mojo Moments.”
It’s opportunity during situational football for the Dallas Cowboys make a big play on offense or a stop on defense.
It could be a two-minute drill or a red zone situation.
It’s an opportunity for the offense or defense to build momentum.
What he should call it is CLT: CeeDee Lamb Time.
The second-year Cowboys receiver has turned the first two weeks of training camp into his personal playground with ridiculous catch after ridiculous catch, all to the delight of his teammates and the crowds in the stands.
It doesn’t matter that quarterback Dak Prescott has missed the last five practices with a sore shoulder.
The Lamb show has continued. Without question, he has been the star of camp.
A contested touchdown catch against tight coverage from cornerback Trevon Diggs to end practice on Sunday resulted him being mobbed by teammates, and the play even had an injured Prescott running over and giving him a bow.
”That’s one thing I hate about being out, I can’t play with my new toy,” the quarterback said afterwards.
But that will happen soon enough and rest of the league will find out what the receivers coach Adam Henry already knows.
Lamb is a bonafide superstar in the making, this coming from a man who coached Odell Beckham Jr. both at LSU and with the New York Giants.
Henry said Lamb has it all.
Lamb had a fantastic rookie year after being picked 17th overall out of Oklahoma by the Cowboys in 2020, catching 74 passes for 935 yards and five touchdowns as primarily a slot receiver.
Those are huge numbers for a slot receiver, Henry said.
That Lamb did it, catching passing from four different quarterbacks with Prescott sidelined for the final 11 games, makes it even more special.
He was simply spectacular for a slot. No inside receiver caught more slot passes of 20 or more air yards than Lamb’s 10 for 306 yards and two touchdowns in last year.
With Prescott slated to return the starting QB role prior to the Sept. 9 season opener, the Cowboys believe the sky is the limit for Lamb, who won’t be limited to just the slot and will challenge Amari Cooper for the top receiver spot on the team.
Lamb is making the most of his opportunity, and he’s taking advantage of the absence of Cooper, who has been out recovering from ankle surgery since the start of training camp.
The Cowboys have made a point of using Lamb on the outside to make their offense more versatile and unpredictable.
“He’s been phenomenal. At the end of the day, the guy’s awesome,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said. “And obviously you guys have seen the growth opportunity he’s had just playing outside, playing the outside receiver. We know he can play. We got plenty of film on that. He can play all over the field. He’s done a tremendous job with that and that’s going to be a huge, huge asset for us.”
It’s a natural progression for Lamb, who has added strength while retaining his dazzling quickness and speed. He has a better understanding of the offense thanks to a full offseason after being limited by the COVID-19 shut down last year. And he is ready to take off in his second year.
”Outside is where I started in college, so being back out there felt natural,” Lamb said. “But now, just looking at the big picture, it makes me play a lot faster and understand concepts a lot easier. I’d say Year 2 is definitely going to be a lot better as far as the mental part of the game, just getting faster than Year 1.”
Lamb’s ascension to the top of the receiver depth chart along side the quiet Cooper should also boost the offense as he brings naturally what McCarthy is trying to manufacture in practice: passion, enthusiasm and the prime-time mentality to want to make big plays in big moments.
Prescott says Lamb has that “dog in him,” similar to former Cowboys receivers Dez Bryant and Michael Irvin. They wanted to make the big play and they let you know about when they did, exciting their teammates and the crowd.
Irvin did his signature first down celebration and shimmy. Bryant threw up the X. Lamb likes to pretend like he’s wiping his nose with his sleeve after big catches and then throwing it away by shaking his arm.
Touchdown celebrations aside, Henry simply said Lamb brings the fire to the offense.
It’s already showing in training camp every day where the spectacular has become routine, and McCarthy has multiple “Mojo Moments” from which he figures he’ll be able to draw upon in a variety of situations.
”I’m used to it. I expect it out of CeeDee,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “He has that X factor. He can go out there and ball. I am not really too surprised when he goes out there and does the thing he does. He supposed to that.”