Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has yet to finalize his coaching staff for the 2021 season, but one experienced coach is reportedly expected to join Meyer's first NFL staff.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Jaguars are set to hire Sanjay Lal as their wide receivers coach. Lal served as a senior offensive assistant for the Seattle Seahawks in 2020, giving the Jaguars another Seahawks connection to go with Darrell Bevell (offensive coordinator) and Brian Schneider (special teams coordinator).
Lal has been a wide receivers coach in the NFL since 2009, including with the Dallas Cowboys (2018-19). He also coached receivers previously with Indianapolis (2017), Buffalo (2015-16), the N.Y. Jets (2012-14) and Oakland (2009-11). From 2007-08, he was an offensive quality control coach for the Raiders.
"He's a real find for us," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said when the Cowboys hired Lal, who wasn't retained under new coach Mike McCarthy. "He was one of the most sought-after assistant coaches in the offseason that I've seen in a long time."
If officially hired, Lal would replace former Jaguars wide receiver and positional coach Keenan McCardell. McCardell has been Jacksonville's wide receivers coach since 2017, but he doesn't have the vast years of experience coaching at the NFL level that Lal has.
Lal doesn't appear to have many connections to Meyer, if any at all, but Meyer said himself when he was first introduced as Jacksonville's head coach that he would only take recommendations on elite coaches.
"I’ve got to get a great staff, not a good staff, a great staff. And when people are recommended, I’ve had a multitude of people calling and my comment is to save the recommendation unless you feel that person is elite in all areas," Meyer said at his introductory press conference. "Because that’s what Jacksonville deserves and that’s what we’re going to have on our staff. But the players and putting together a team that—they want to win, I know that."
The Jaguars have numerous young wide receivers who still need developing as the Jaguars transition a new quarterback into the offense. DJ Chark was a Pro Bowler in 2019 but all of his numbers dipped in 2020 due to poor quarterback play. Meanwhile, Laviska Shenault Jr., and Collin Johnson are second-year receivers who had terrific flashes as rookies but need the right coach to help them take the next step.
No assistant coach has been formally announced by the Jaguars organization, though Meyer said last week that the announcements should come soon.
"Yeah, next week I’d like to—we’ll give a deep dive into what’s taken place because there’s been no finality to where were at as a coaching staff. So I’d like to hold on that until next week, because there’s been nothing set in stone yet," Meyer said.