FRISCO, Texas – It felt awfully strange to see such a sparse Cowboys crowd at the 2018 Senior Bowl.
To be clear: the key figures were all on hand. The Cowboys' front office made the trip to Mobile, Ala., to evaluate this year's Senior Bowl talent. The scouting staff was on hand, as well.
But, with a multitude of openings to fill following the season, it was a rare occasion in which Jason Garrett and his Cowboys coaching staff did not make the trip to begin the evaluation process. That was by design, according to team executive vice president Stephen Jones, as the Cowboys begin to evaluate themselves for the coming year.
"Obviously, this Senior Bowl, all of it is on tape and the Combine will be plenty of time there to do all the interviews you need to get," Jones said in Mobile. "So we just felt like this was the best use of our time in terms of letting our scouts and everybody do the Senior Bowl and then letting the coaches stay back and do the Combine."
It makes sense. The Cowboys have spent the past few weeks overhauling a significant portion of their coaching staff, hiring receivers coach and Sanjay Lal and offensive line coach Paul Alexander. There are agreements in place with Kellen Moore and Kris Richard to coach quarterbacks and defensive backs, respectively.
With all parties returned from the Senior Bowl, the goal will be to begin the evaluation process with all of those new voices involved.
"Now, most of the staff is put together and they're going to spend some time going through the team, getting thoughts on what the new guys think who are going to be involved with our coaching staff. I feel good about it," Jones said.
Given that none of this has happened yet, Cowboys officials weren't very forthcoming with details about what that could mean. After all, multiple positions on the staff have not yet been filled. But to hear it from them, the goal of all of this will be to implement change following a disappointing year.
"I think that's what this offseason is about. That's what these position coaches are about," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. "To change it up, change it up more during the season, from the beginning to the middle to the end of the season. I think you'll see a lot more variation in what we're doing. Variation in terms of schemes, technique, I think you're going to see more variation."
Whether that results in changes to the scheme, the personnel or the playbook – or perhaps all three – is anyone's guess. But with the Senior Bowl behind them, the Cowboys can move forward with the process of figuring that out.