By: Anthony Miller
The Dallas Cowboys fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-23 in their opening preseason game but did see some good performances from players trying to earn a roster spot.
Dallas’s offense got off to a slow start with the Cowboys only having one drive in their first five drives where they gained more than ten yards. That only drive ended in a fumble for the Cowboys. Down 14-0 late in the second quarter, Will Grier conducted a 12-play, 63-yard drive that was capped off by a 17-yard touchdown from Grier to Jalen Tolbert as the Cowboys found themselves down 14-7 at halftime.
The second half was a much better start for Dallas as they scored a field goal and touchdown on their first two possessions of the game that included rookie running back Deuce Vaughn getting a 26-yard run and closing the second drive with a four-yard touchdown run to give them a 16-14 lead.
Jacksonville found some momentum behind quarterback Nathan Rourke scoring touchdowns in two straight possessions giving the Jaguars a 12-point lead. After each team traded turnovers, Grier was able to throw his second touchdown of the game to tight end John Stephens Jr. putting Dallas down by just 5. The Cowboys’ offense never got on the field again in the last 2:16 of the game giving the Cowboys the 28-23 loss to Jacksonville.
Dallas goes to 0-1 to start the preseason showing mixed performances from their players. Despite the loss, there are plenty of players who proved themselves after one week of preseason play.
Top Standouts from Dallas Cowboys
Deuce Vaughn, RB
The rookie running back Deuce Vaughn got off to a fast start with the Cowboys leading the team in rushing with 50 yards on eight carries. Vaughn also added six yards receiving and a 30-yard kickoff return in the process.
He made two big plays in the game that included his 26-yard run that led to his second big play of the game. Vaughn was able to punch the football into the end zone from four yards out to give Dallas their first and only lead of the game.
Dallas had to be impressed with the rookie showing how fast he can be, but also how tough of a runner he is as well. He didn’t make it easy for defenders to tackle. There were more special moments from the rookie than most of the players in the game. The argument could be made that Vaughn was one of the best players on the field on Saturday.
John Stephens Jr., TE
There weren’t a lot of electric moments from the receivers for Dallas, but the tight ends were able to prove themselves with Jake Ferguson finishing second on the team in receptions (three) and yards (36). It was another tight end though that led the way for the Cowboys in receiving.
John Stephens Jr. had one of the more impressive performances of the game, recording five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Stephens seemed to have caught most passes his way, bringing in five of seven targets in the game.
Seven tight ends were listed on the depth chart with six ahead of Stephens who is the seventh. He ended up being the best tight end of the weekend. It isn’t known whether he will win a spot on the roster, but he proved that he deserves more playing time and a shot at a roster spot.
Juanyeh Thomas, S
There wasn’t a player on the Cowboys that made a quicker first impression in the game than Juanyeh Thomas who made an immediate impact. On the second play of the game, Thomas was able to pick off Trevor Lawrence and give Dallas the ball quickly. He finished the game with one tackle, one interception, and two pass deflections in the loss. The CBS 11 broadcast gave him defensive player of the game for Dallas.
Thomas was solid in the secondary, making nice plays on the ball. The stats may not blow fans away, but he was able to get some nice tape together against the Jaguars receivers. He’ll have two more weeks to make an impression, but it is safe to say Dallas should feel good about how Thomas played through just one game.