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Mailbag: How Many Spots Will CeeDee Play?

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Is CeeDee Lamb going to be the primary punt returner for 2020? I think that's one aspect of his game that would make an immediate impact in terms of an upgrade from last season. If I were an opposing team's special teams coach, I would be terrified to see Lamb back there returning punts.— RILEY BREWER / LAKE STEVENS, WA

Rob: I think he'll certainly be part of the conversation. Worth noting, though: As a top-three receiver, Lamb basically will be viewed as a starter. The Cowboys were always hesitant to use Dez Bryant on returns because they didn't want to risk injury, knowing his value to the offense when he played here. But someone has to take over for Tavon Austin and Randall Cobb, and Lamb is as good at it as anyone on the roster.

Jonny: If I were to guess, I'd say yes. I'd agree that he's just such a dynamic athlete with speed that it's hard not to get excited just thinking about it. But I don't think it's guaranteed by any means. It's one of those roles that is specific and unique, and the best football player is not always the best punt returner. So, I'm sure the Cowboys will give some of their other young players and even some of their undrafted free agents an opportunity in training camp to show what they can do in that role.

When the Dallas Cowboys hired Paul Alexander, there were a lot of technique issues with the offensive line and the production plummeted. When Marc Colombo was elevated to offensive line coach and re-established techniques the line was familiar with, production as well as morale increased. Do you foresee any technique issues with Joe Philbin? I know he is highly regarded in the league.— PETER MADDEN / EWING, NJ

Rob: You're right, Alexander's philosophy was much different than what the players were used to, and it didn't work the first half of the 2018 season. The Cowboys have been successful for years with largely a zone blocking scheme and I don't expect their identity to change all that much, even though it's probably inaccurate to say teams play it just one way exclusively. Technique is a big part of Philbin's teaching. I think he's a very good hire.

Jonny: I ultimately don't see that being an issue. You're right to suggest there are some minor obstacles: new offensive line coach, less practice time together, and the sudden retirement of a Pro Bowl center. But like you said, Philbin is highly regarded and has been around this league a long time. The offensive line is also made up of veterans who understand how to make things work. There might naturally be a few hiccups, but I wouldn't be too worried about that unit.

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