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T.Y. Hilton making big impact for Cowboys: 'If he's in this offense, this offense can go'

Jersey swaps have become a commonplace ritual at the end of every NFL game, players trading souvenirs with opponents to build a collection of game-worn gear that showcases the talented athletes they’ve battled on the gridiron.

But when Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb left Nashville’s Nissan Stadium after Thursday night’s 27-13 win over the Titans, he did so with the grass-stained No. 19 of one of his own teammates, T.Y. Hilton.

“I told him I wanted this jersey. He’s not walking out with it, I am,” Lamb said via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. “Just him being a great teammate and a great mentor for me just in such a short span. It’s value, bro.”

That’s how much of an impact the 11th-year veteran’s leadership and presence on the field has made in just two games as a Cowboy.

“I think it’s obvious,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday of the impact Hilton has had, even in a short time. “You can see that he’s connected, not only in the receiver room, but on the sideline. Obviously, he’s a veteran with a lot of pelts on the wall. I really like the addition.”

But more than just drawing coverage away from Lamb or sharing with the team’s WR1 what he could expect from the Titans secondary after all his own meetings with them in the AFC South, Hilton has become an immediate contributor to the Cowboys passing attack.

His first catch as a Cowboy converted an improbable third-and-30 on Christmas Eve versus Philadelphia. To kick off New Year’s weekend, he hauled in four receptions for 50 yards. Three of those grabs moved the chains on a third down; two extended drives that turned into Dallas touchdowns.

“That’s all a credit to him,” quarterback Dak Prescott told reporters, “just being able to come in a couple weeks ago and make the impact that he’s made, make big-time catches, show up on third down, and just- time and time again when his number is called- make those plays. But if you go back and you look at this guy’s resume and his history and his career, there’s no surprise in what he’s doing.”

Hilton currently ranks 56th on the league’s all-time receiving yardage list. With another 400 yards and change, he’ll break the Top 50 and surpass legends like Eric Moulds, Shannon Sharpe, Donald Driver, and Andre Rison.

And based on what Cowboys Nation has seen in just two game appearances wearing the star, the 33-year-old hasn’t lost a step.

“It’s very deceptive,” Lamb remarked earlier in the week. “His arms don’t move as fast, but his legs are sure still turning. It’s crazy.”

He’s made big plays in big games, and he hasn’t lost anything,” owner Jerry Jones said Friday on K&C Masterpiece on Audacy’s 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

He’s certainly bringing something to the dance here in terms of making us a better football team,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told GBag Nation on 105.3 The Fan later in the day. “We were fortunate enough to get him, and as you can see, he’s ready. He’s ready to play right away and help us right away. That chemistry is only going to get better, and that leadership in that wide receiver room, which was a young room to start with. For him to come in there and be able to lead these guys and really be a mentor has been a huge plus. But no mistake about it: as we all saw last night, he can really make plays for us.”

Lamb got the targets and the yards Thursday. Tight end Dalton Schultz got the touchdowns. But the Cowboys’ real unsung hero may have been the guy whose jersey went home with his own teammate.

Because with the playoffs looming, CeeDee Lamb has already seen the difference T.Y. Hilton makes.

“If he’s in this offense, this offense can go.”


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