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Mailbag: Are People Forgetting About Zuerlein?


It seems everyday the expectations grow. I don't recall ever seeing such unrealistic expectations placed on a first-round choice. Will the coaching staff tamp down the pressure on this young man, to a more realistic level? — STEVE NEECE / BARTLESVILLE, OK

Nick: First of all, please go to Murph's and order a "hot hamburger" for me. Love that place in Bartlesville. Secondly, I have to disagree. This first-round pick doesn't even have to start. He gets to be the third receiver and punt returner this year. I think it's a perfect situation for him to exceed expectations and shine.

David: I don't think I can agree, either. Honestly, this feels pretty par for the course. The expectations were sky-high for Ezekiel Elliott, who was supposed to come in and push Tony Romo over the hump. They were huge for Morris Claiborne and Dez Bryant, too. It goes with the territory of being a big-time pick for America's Team. Fortunately, I don't think Lamb is bothered by them one bit.

The team has added some big-name free agents this offseason, like Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Andy Dalton. However, is there a chance at the end of the year that we're discussing John Fassel and Greg Zuerlein as the best free agent additions from the offseason? — H. MELVIN / JAMAICA, VT

Nick: There's always a chance for that. But if that happens, it means either Zuerlein had this amazing comeback year or the rest of the free agents were kind of average. But to your point, you're trying to see if the special teams units are going to be better. I think they will be. Not just because of Fassel or the new kicker, but there are some players such as Canady, Goodwin and Robinson who should bolster the coverage teams. Lamb should be dynamic as a return specialist, too.

David: I think it's very possible. Zuerlein's numbers dipped last year, but he was ridiculously reliable for seven years before that. And he was playing through injuries for most of 2019 – a fact of which I'm sure John Fassel is very aware. Combine Zuerlein's ability with Fassel's coaching acumen, and I think the improvement of the special teams could be a huge storyline.

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