Coach Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys staff are at the Pro Bowl hoping to have a fun week and put the experience of the disappointing NFC Divisional playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers behind them.
They brought their families with them to Orlando. They plan to have a good time and enjoy the experience before moving on to the business of getting ready for next year.
“That’s what you have to do in this league," Garrett said. "You really have to focus on what the task at hand is. We did a lot of good things in 2016 and there are a lot of things we can build on going into 2017. We’re excited about that opportunity and excited to get moving forward.”
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Garrett said the team will officially begin the business of moving forward after the Super Bowl. They will enjoy the Pro Bowl and take next week off.
To that end, Garrett said the Cowboys have not had any discussions with quarterback Tony Romo about his future or any other other personnel decisions since the end of the season.
"We will be back to work the Tuesday after the Super bowl," Garrett said. "We will start with evaluating our players from this past season. Go through a very comprehensive of evaluation of our guys and all the while starting to get evaluating the draft prospect coming out."
This is Garrett's second time as head coach of the NFC Pro Bowl team. They did the same after the 12-4 mark in 2014 after a divisonal road loss to Green Bay.
And while things are more acute following the 13-3 mark this season when the Cowboys had the best record in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, moving on is what they have to do.
With seven players at the Pro Bowl, including quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, receiver Dez Bryant, center Travis Frederick, tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin and linebacker Sean Lee, the Cowboys get to bond and move on together.
“I think it’s great for our guys to be recognized among the best in the National Football League," Garrett said. "One of the great experiences for these players is to get to know each other, get to know the other guys who are also among the best in the league and develop relationships with them and learn from each other. We talked about that with them last night. You can see some of those relationships developing both on the field and off the field. That’s a great thing for our guys.”
Ironically, a year ago at this time, Garrett was at the Senior Bowl where the Cowboys began their initial evaluations of a quarterback who would become a record-breaking starter as a rookie in Prescott. It was also the beginning of a strong off-season that resulted in one of the best rookie classes in team history, considering the additions of Prescott, Elliott, defensive tackle Maliek Collins and cornerback Anthony Brown.
This year, the scouts are handling the Senior Bowl with the coaching staff at the Pro Bowl.
"The scouts really take the same approach as they have done in the past," Garrett said. “They will interview them. They will watch practice. They will get to know them both on the field and off the field. Then we as coaches, as this process goes on, we will get engaged in it. We will spend time with these guys at the combine and during workouts. And all the different things you do leading up to the draft."