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Sanjay Lal is the right teacher for this new Cowboys receivers group

Sanjay Lal is the hero that the wide receivers room needed.

By now, most Cowboys enthusiasts have seen “All or Nothing” about the 2017 Dallas Cowboys. Make no mistake that Derek Dooley is a great football coach who has moved on to be a coordinator, which he deserved to be. One clear thing that came from that episodic series, though, was that Dooley didn’t have full control in the receivers room. It was as much Dez Bryant’s room as it was Derek Dooley’s though he’s certainly a respected coach.

When the Cowboys hired his successor, Sanjay Lal, they did so because Scott Linehan wanted an exceptional teacher. That’s the reputation that Lal has across the league and that’s what the Dallas Cowboys wanted in their receiver’s room. In hindsight, the move to Lal is what truly set this whole reset in motion and signified the end of the receiving corps as we came to know it. When a receiving corps struggles as bad as the Cowboys did last season, wholesale changes are coming. That became evident when Lal and Bryant met the very day Dez was released:

The Cowboys hired Lal as their new receivers coach Jan. 17. The first time he met Bryant was April 13, the day the Cowboys cut their No. 1 receiver.

”I met him on his last day,” Lal said. “And he was very, very gracious with me.”

Lal isn’t afraid to be constructively critical of players and that’s what a teacher should be expected to do.

“I still saw he’s physical and violent at the route top,” Lal said. “He’s still one of the best slant runners in the league.

”Without getting into specifics, I just saw more inconsistencies in his game.”

More inconsistencies than in previous years?

”Yeah,” Lal said, “I would say so.”

This isn’t to say that Lal isn’t a fan of Bryant, it’s just that he saw some inconsistencies, things that guys who are paid as much as Bryant cannot make as frequently as he did in 2017.

“I would always pull Dez Bryant cut-ups, ‘Here’s how you go play violently for a ball, here’s how you turn on a back-shoulder fade,’” Lal said. “I have a whole slant cut-up of Dez Bryant, so I’ve been a great admirer of how he plays the game. I still think he has that.”

Asked to detail what inconsistencies he saw in Bryant’s game in 2017, Lal declined.

”I really don’t want to get into specifics in that, but a general feeling,” Lal said.

Bryant isn’t the scapegoat though for all the ailments in the receiver room, Lal had similar things to say about Terrance Williams:

“Kind of the same thing, I saw some flash plays and then I saw some inconsistencies,” Lal said. “You can say that for all of our receivers, and you can say that about a lot of receivers in the league. So part of my job that I’m charged with is making them as consistent and precise as they can be.”

Lal saw some deficiencies in Cole Beasley’s game too but just briefly stated that he has a plan to fix that:

Lal said Beasley’s 2017 tape didn’t show any “fundamental issues, but more style.”

“I don’t want to give it away because we’re changing some stuff and he’s excited about it and I’m excited about it. More demeanor of route running, if that makes sense, so we’re going to change a few things up.”

Whatever ambiguity there may have been when watching “All or Nothing” has been put to rest. There is no doubt who the receiver’s room belongs to, it’s Sanjay Lal’s room now. There has been an underlying theme to what the Cowboys have been rebuilding in their new vision for the passing game. They want technicians at receiver.

When Sanjay got his hands on the rookie receivers today, they didn’t even practice the art form of catching the ball. He spent this orientation period having them run routes. All day it was hitches, slants, curls, fly routes and many others. Lal wants guys to be there when they are called upon. When asked about a receiver-by-committee approach, Lal was elated to talk about it:

“I love it because you go run your routes, you run crisp routes, you have attention to detail, you block hard and the QB goes through his progressions and he hits the open guy,” Lal said. “And that’s football.”

Coach Lal expressed the understanding of having a number one weapon on the field with the positives and negative effects it has on the offense.

“When I was at Indy, we had T.Y. Hilton and you want to get him the ball and defenses take those guys away, so sometimes you’re beating your head against the wall,” Lal said. “So, if you just play and let the chips fall where they may, that’s a great thing to have, especially now that we have some weapons, too.”

Again, Lal is a teacher of the game at heart, he wants a stable of receivers that have route discipline:

Third-round selection, Michael Gallup, already a savvy route runner, spoke to the media about what Coach Lal is all about:

Sanjay Lal expressed that the Cowboys didn’t exactly go into this offseason with “overhaul” written on their foreheads. They obviously made calculated decisions about their current roster and believe they lost some good players while also adding good players. This game is all about give and take, so losing quality players is part of that equation. The new mission is to create a corps of technicians at receiver which will hopefully lead to a much more efficient group this upcoming season.

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