‘Looks real nice’: CeeDee Lamb had high praise for Christian Gonzalez ahead of Patriots-Cowboys matchup


Lamb will likely be the latest star receiver Gonzalez lines up against in his young NFL career.

Christian Gonzalez will have another tough matchup on Sunday. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
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Christian Gonzalez has gotten off to a strong start to his NFL career, and people have taken notice.

The rookie corner was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September on Thursday. As the league rewarded Gonzalez for his play, some of his competitors have acknowledged his strong play, too.

That includes one of the players he’s set to up against in Week 4. Cowboys star receiver CeeDee Lamb praised Gonzalez ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots.

“He’s a real big corner, of course, very strong, has real nice ball skills,” Lamb told reporters of the 6-foot-2, 205-pound corner. “… Plays his technique well. Looks real nice.”

So far, Gonzalez has mostly lined up across the other team’s top receivers. And that includes an impressive list of talent. He covered A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in the Week 1 loss to the Eagles. A week later, he went up against Tyreek Hill, who was fresh off a 215-yard game against the Chargers, and Jaylen Waddle. In Week 3, Gonzalez lined up against reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson.

Lamb shared what he’s seen on film on how the Patriots have used Gonzalez and how it might affect him on Sunday.

“Follow? I don’t know,” Lamb said when asked if he expects Gonzalez to be on him all day in Sunday’s game. “I mean, if he does that’s cool. But from the looks of it, he’s been a boundary corner.”

As he won Defensive Rookie of the Month, Gonzalez has obviously had a good deal of success against some of the game’s top receivers. In Week 1, Brown and Smith combined for six receptions on nine targets for 69 yards when Gonzalez was covering them. Gonzalez was even better a week later, allowing just one reception on three combined targets when covering Hill and Waddle, getting an interception on one of those targets, via Pro Football Focus’ tracking data.

That Week 2 performance earned Gonzalez some high praise from Hill, who called the rookie “real good.” Gonzalez made sure to continue to be “real good” against the Jets, allowing Wilson to record three receptions on four targets but for only 18 yards, according to PFF.

The Patriots will likely need Gonzalez to be “real good” again on Sunday. The last time the Patriots faced the Cowboys, Lamb went off, posting 149 receiving yards and scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Lamb isn’t just bracing to face strong coverage against Gonzalez, though. He’s also expecting Bill Belichick to prepare a tough gameplan to try and stop him on Sunday, citing what the team has already done this season.

“He schemes well,” Lamb said. “Kind of watching what he did to Miami and going three deep safeties. He does a great job of switching up the presentation and taking away the WR1. He’ll throw a couple doubles in. He’ll mix up the coverages and kind of keep the offense guessing.”

Lamb’s comment reciprocated how Belichick felt about him earlier in the week.

“Lamb is dynamic, great, great receiver, obviously we had problems with him two years ago, three years ago, whatever it was,” Belichick told reporters on Wednesday, adding that he’s an “explosive” player.

So far this season, Lamb has 19 receptions for 273 yards but has yet to get in the end zone as Dallas has struggled in the red zone. Gonzalez and New England hope that struggle continues on Sunday.