OXNARD, Calif. – CeeDee Lamb is back in his bag of trick, albeit with a fun new wrinkle.
Lamb wowed the crowd Saturday at the Cowboys' second practice of training camp, stuttering stepping away from Trevon Diggs and diving to bring in a one-handed catch.
Acrobatic catches have become the norm for the Cowboys' young star, so that's nothing new. What does stand out from the play, and what makes it all the more fun, is that Diggs did it lined up on the outside of the formation – far from his rookie proving ground in the slot.
"Outside is where I started in college, so being back out there felt natural," Lambs said after practice.
It's worth noting that the receiver group is slightly short-handed, as Amari Cooper continues to work his way back from offseason ankle surgery. But it's been made abundantly clear this week that Lamb's shift to the outside isn't about Cooper's injury, it's about getting the most out of one of their most dynamic players.
"He's going to play all over the field," said offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on Friday. "He'll line up everywhere across the field and we're going to have fun doing it."
The early returns are definitely fun. Lamb nearly one-upped his one-hander when he leapt for a long bomb from Dak Prescott during the offense's scramble drill, but he just mistimed his jump and couldn't come down with it.
Still, it's an intriguing sight – a player who was already explosive, adding another element to his game. Add that to the fact that Lamb said he believes he's begging to play faster and more confidently, and it's a heck of a combination.
"Last year I kind of limited myself as far as just playing in the slot. But now, just looking at the big picture, it makes me play a lot faster and understand concepts a lot easier," Lamb said. "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."
Time will tell when Cooper is ready to return. The long-term outlook isn't considered serious, but Lamb should have plenty of opportunity for extra reps on the outside. He acknowledged that he's added some mass in the offseason, packing on 5-10 pounds to help him handle the beating of an NFL season.
"Play a lot stronger and faster, once again that kind of goes back to mentality," he said.
That's the benefit of actually having an offseason. In addition to the added time to work out, Lamb actually went through a full, NFL offseason program, complete with OTAs and minicamp. It's something he didn't have as a rookie thanks to COVID-19.
The result is seeing things more quickly, processing faster than he did as a rookie.
"It's a lot easier for me than it was last year," he said. "I'm not going to say I've got it all the way down, but it's a bit clearer of a picture."
That's how Lamb feels on Saturday – just two days into his first true training camp, and a full six weeks before he can show it in a game. And that's a fun thought, to put it mildly.