INDIANAPOLIS – Across a variety of fronts, Jason Garrett kept going back to one word – "evolve."
The Cowboys' head coach spoke to media at the NFL Combine on Wednesday, marking his first press conference for the first time since the 2017 season came to a close. During that two-month span, he's had plenty of time to think about necessary changes to his program.
"Well, you're going to grow every year," Garrett said. "You pull back every year and you look at what you've done in all three phases of your team – from a system standpoint, from a coaching technique standpoint. And so much of it will stay the same, but a lot of it has to change."
Garrett said that changes have to be made every offseason, even if a team's personnel stays the same. It's safe to say he's not going to have that problem this year, though, as the Cowboys head into 2018 with quite a different look to their coaching staff.
As has been well-documented, Garrett and his offensive and defensive coordinators, Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli, remain in place. But the staff around them has undergone an overhaul, with two current coaches earning promotions and eight new coaches joining the staff.
The result qualifies as an evolution – a group of coaches that Garrett said is familiar with each other, while also bringing new ideas to the mix.
"It's been a really good process for us," he said. "Because when you pull back afterwards and you look at it, I think there's a lot of continuity – and then there's a lot of freshness to it, as well."
Most of the changes came on the offensive side of the ball, where the Cowboys made four new hires – offensive line coach Paul Alexander, quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore, wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal and tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier.
But as many new names as that might be, Garrett was sure to point out the connections. Moore obviously has worked for a long time with Linehan, playing under him during a six-year NFL career – including three in Dallas. Nussmeier also has a history with the Cowboys' offensive coordinator, having coached with him for the St. Louis Rams.
Defensively, the Cowboys only made one outside hire, with secondary coach Kris Richard coming to them from Seattle. That addition to a staff that has spent so much time together should bring a new perspective to the Dallas defense – albeit from a system that Garrett said is quite similar to the one the Cowboys already run.
"That continuity will help us, but then the freshness that he brings – the interpretation of that system that they run in Seattle, I think is going to be really good for us," Garrett said. "Those meetings have been really productive."
It's not likely to change the core values of Garrett's football philosophy, but it's certainly qualifies as change. With new perspective scattered across their coaching staff, the Cowboys will be hoping it helps them take the next step forward.