FRISCO, Texas - Timing is a curious thing, and frankly we all know this to be true - it is also everything.
As the Cowboys openly pursue a particular high-profile wide receiver, we can't overlook the fact that the current leader of the group – third-year veteran CeeDee Lamb – is actually playing the best football of his career.
Tabbed as the No. 1 receiver for the Cowboys over the offseason there were more than enough expectations put on Lamb before his first season with the title ever took flight. The only problem is that before it ever really got going, he was already behind the 8-ball.
Dak Prescott's injury, leading to Cooper Rush starting five games, didn't hurt the overall record with the Cowboys going 4-1. But Lamb averaged just 68 yards per game in that stretch with just two touchdowns.
In the five games since Prescott has returned it's been a much different story with an average of almost 90 yards a game and three touchdowns.
Plus in the time since Prescott rejoined the team, Lamb has put up two 100-yard games, the first of the season by any Cowboys' receiver – against the Packers, where he had two scores, and the other against the Giants on Thanksgiving.
Lamb now ranks seventh in the league in receiving yards with just over 850 and is having his best stretch of the season by far. But suffice to say, he has thought about what could have been if Prescott had been healthy the entire year.
"You think about it in a sense where I didn't have my guy for the first five games," Lamb said. "Then it takes a couple games for him to get acclimated in the season. And then now he's hitting it full head of steam. He's finally starting to hit midseason form."
The duo has been quite good together already this season, but as Lamb is midway through his third season with Prescott in his seventh the trust and rapport between them is there. Nevertheless, getting their first real work together this season since training camp has proven to be beneficial.
"I just think having that constant communication and continuing to get more time on task and reps with one another, the sky's the limit," Prescott said. "He's just an athletic player who's smart and wants to do whatever he can for this team. And it makes it fun for not only me, but for everybody."
It does make it fun for everybody, yes, but it's not just Lamb who has found their stride with Prescott back in the lineup. Though it might not be coincidental that he is playing his best ball as the Cowboys openly court Odell Beckham Jr., whom Lamb has said he would welcome with open arms. (Remember, timing is a curious thing.)
Take Michael Gallup for example. Returning from offseason ACL surgery in under 10 months is no small feat, but understandably so the results were slow in rising to the surface initially. The good news, he is coming off his best game of the season against the Giants with five catches for 63 yards and started making crucial contested catches when needed.
"So good seeing him get back," Lamb said of Gallup. "Can't wait for his first 100-yard game and just understanding him getting acclimated out there [after] an ACL injury. You have to understand how much of a toll that would take on his body and his mind. Just understanding he has to start all the way over.
"So for him to get back out here doing what he loves with the confidence that he's kind of building again - it's going to be scary."
Then there is James Washington, who's 21-day practice window was opened earlier this week after fracturing his foot during training camp and has yet to play a snap this season. Just another offensive weapon to add into Lamb and Gallup, along with Dalton Schultz and the two horses in the back field.
Considering all of that, maybe it is already scary for opposing defenses with the Cowboys key offensive guys having gotten healthy and gelling down the stretch. Taking into account the games that Prescott missed at the beginning of the year, the Cowboys rank seventh in points per game and eighth in third down conversion.
But like Prescott said, that's what the Cowboys have come to expect.
"That's our expectation," he said. "And honestly our standard coming off last year… We're not going to get caught up in the stats and where our numbers are, but more importantly of how good we can be and continue to try to push that envelope."