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Cowboys WR coach Sanjay Lal expects he and Dez Bryant will go far together

Count Sanjay Lal as a person inside the Star on “Team Bryant”.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

There has been so much speculation on what will happen between Dez Bryant and the Cowboys front office all offseason long. Dez Bryant hasn’t had a 1,000 yard season since 2014 and his cap hit is over $16 million this season. There are multiple outlets that have been predicting a divorce since the curtains closed on the Cowboys season. Still, outside of a few public comments from the Jones family, it’s been a lot of talk and absolutely zero action.

After the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns in free agency, the speculation has revved up once again. It’s a crowded receiver’s room with Dez Bryant, Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer, Deonte Thompson, and Noah Brown. Even then, there are a few guys signed to future’s contracts that will compete as well. Someone has to be the odd man out and understandably it’s the guy getting paid the most that is always looked at first.

The Cowboys have maintained their stance that Dez Bryant will remain in their plans going forward this season. They have also let it be known they plan to talk to Bryant about his contract. There has been some tension brewing and “rumors” that surface of possible people inside the decision-making team not being as high on Bryant as others. One guy you can place on the “Team Bryant” side, at least publicly, is new receiver’s coach Sanjay Lal, who has exchanged text messages with the former All Pro.

“My impressions are he’s a competitive guy,” Lal said. “Obviously he’s not happy with what happened last year in terms of his game. I’m excited to work with him and help him as much as I can.

“I think together we can go good places.”

That’s a vote of confidence from the receivers coach. Dez has been adamant that he intends on shutting the mouths of his detractors this coming year.

“I promise you, I’m going to shut a lot of people up,” Bryant said.

Bryant intends on working with receiver guru David Robinson in the offseason to improve his abilities. Some would question why a veteran of eight years would now look to improve route running but Robinson believes Bryant is a product of his environment:

“Robinson believes the Cowboys scheme has something to do with Bryant’s route running. In Bryant’s situation the strength of his game that the Cowboys have noticed is the slant route and jump balls, 50-50 balls, but in Robinson’s opinion he believes Dez can run the whole route tree, he just hasn’t been asked to do so. Robinson also believes the Cowboys should move Dez around more, from outside into the slot some because he’s a mismatch.”

It’s an interesting thought to ponder as most people have had opinions on the ways Dez has been used in the past. Does the Cowboys coaching staff stubbornly pigeonhole their players? This wouldn’t be the first time that was brought up either. Former Cowboys receiver Brice Butler and even Dez himself mentioned being frustrated with the scheme.

There is still a lot that needs to happen behind closed doors as Jerry Jones has stated his plans to meet with Bryant. It’s unclear if there will be talks of a salary reduction or even a possible extension that lowers his cap figure:

“I haven’t heard a word on that. I’m just controlling the things I can control,” Bryant said. When asked for further clarification, Bryant said, “I have yet to talk to my agent about anything. That’s a discussion for me and my agent, the Jones family and the Dallas Cowboys.”

The Cowboys aren’t ready to reveal their big plans with their star receiver but in the last few days, Dez has received declarations of confidence from Jason Garrett and now Sanjay Lal. It was Lal that built up the recommendations to sign both Thompson and Hurns.

Lal also is excited by the additions of Thompson, who he worked with in Buffalo in 2014, and Hurns, who Lal met in the recruitment process. Lal’s recommendations convinced the Cowboys to sign both receivers.

“[Thompson] is a speed guy that can run routes and block,” Lal said. “Then Allen, that’s the first time I met him, but the film sessions I had with him were off-the-charts. He’s extremely bright, knows football, hungry, so that’s what we’re trying to build in that receiver room.”

The Cowboys are looking high and low for receiver help in this year’s draft and haven’t slowed the process in the least bit. Still, it certainly seems as though Sanjay Lal is high on the current crop he has and that most definitely includes Dez Bryant, who is by far the most accomplished on the team.

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