FRISCO, Texas — Preseason football is all about player evaluation for the Dallas Cowboys, but it's also about hoping every player remains healthy throughout that evaluation process. But with standout rookies DeMarvion Overshown and John Stephens Jr., both suffering a torn ACL on Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks, a brighter light is cast upon Deuce Vaughn and Jalen Tolbert.
Granted, Tolbert isn't a rookie, but his second training camp and preseason has him in the discussion of likely impact players in 2023, not unlike Vaughn and the now redshirted Overshown and Stephens.
That said, does the fact the latter two suffered season-ending injuries mean the Cowboys will roll Vaughn and Tolbert (or maybe even Rico Dowdle) up in bubble wrap and hide them in a closet until Sept. 10, when they travel to face the New York Giants?
As of Monday, that decision has not been made, per head coach Mike McCarthy.
"We have two padded, late practices that will feature a lot of competition against [our] defense," McCarthy said. "So, we'll see how we come out of that first before we decide who is going to play against the Raiders."
The Cowboys will resume practice on Tuesday in preparation to host the Raiders on Saturday at AT&T Stadium, marking their final preseason game before the all-important final roster cuts — sending 37 players to waivers to shave the roster from 90 to 53, while also hoping some of those waived players find their way back to Dallas' 16-man practice squad.
But, as stated, the goal over the next few days remains evaluation and health, but for those who have arguably shown everything they needed to show — e.g., Vaughn, Tolbert and Rico Dowdle — that only leaves one goal left to achieve: escaping the month of August intact.
And that is what the Cowboys are weighing at the moment.