PHILADELPHIA – From the time they reported to training camp, all the way back in mid-July, the Cowboys have been hard at work for the past 162 days.
If the past five months have been grueling or tiresome, it didn't show. Not to hear it from Dez Bryant, at least.
"I'm honestly just really ready to get back to work," Bryant said Sunday afternoon. "Rest the body and just get back to work, 2018 is an extremely big year. I'm just truly looking to get back to work."
That's an understandable viewpoint, given the way Bryant and the Dallas offense finished the season. The Cowboys finished on a positive note, with a win against a division rival. But the 6-0 scoreline was hardly a thing of beauty, and neither was the jittery passing game – which finished with just 179 yards.
"At the end of the day we're just trying to win a ball game," Bryant said. "We won that ball game and now we're looking forward to 2018 and we're ready to get everything together."
The grind of the season is over, but – to Bryant's point – it seems like the work is only beginning. Heading into the offseason, the Cowboys have plenty of work to do on a passing game that didn't pull much weight in the second half of the year.
The Cowboys averaged 198 passing yards per game in 2017, which will undoubtedly rank them in the bottom of the league when all of this year's games have been played. It's a fact that Dak Prescott said will require work on a variety of different fronts.
"There's not one aspect of my game that I could say, 'If this improves, then we are going to be the most prolific passing offense there is,'" Prescott said. "So I mean it's just all around. It's every part of my game: from keeping my feet balanced, better in the drop-back game, more accurate – consistently more accurate, great decisions all the way around."
Prescott is a big part of that, as he attested himself. The second-year quarterback was reluctant to describe his up-and-down season as a sophomore slump, but he admitted it was a year with plenty of growing pains.
How he responds in 2018 will be important – as will his relationship with his receivers. With three catches for 24 yards on Sunday, Bryant finished the season with 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns. Those are the lowest totals of his career for any season in which he's missed fewer than three games.
"Everybody here, including all the coaches, we are competitors," Bryant said. "I'm pretty sure that all of us are looking forward to 2018 to see what we all can do better."
That goes back to Bryant's point, that now isn't the time to take off. The three-time Pro Bowler said he doesn't intend to watch the playoffs. Instead, he'll use the Cowboys' early exit to recharge – and then get back at it.
"Get yourself right and get your mind right and get back to work," he said.