ARLINGTON, Texas – It's football. That's all I know.
No, the game doesn't count (thankfully), and no, that's not what this team is going to look like on either side of the ball. Also thankfully.
But it's football again, and really that's all we care about it. Because all this 28-23 loss to the Jaguars signals is that we're getting closer and closer to the things we really want to see.
Like I seem to say every year during this time, games like this are all about individual performances. You really can't get a feel for one side of the ball or even a position group, especially if the other team plays with a different mindset.
Hey, if the Jaguars want to play their starters for a couple of series, that's on them. But since the Cowboys didn't play their starters, it's hard to judge anything overall. Don't forget, the Jaguars actually beat the Cowboys back in December and made the playoffs as well. I would think their starters are definitely better than most team's backups.
So that takes me back to the individuals, and like any football game, there was plenty to see.
Here are some of the things that stood out the most:
- This DeMarvion Overshown is a player. Yes, I kind of expected him to be good because of the hype and the highlights from Texas. But he just knows how to get to the football, and he's so smooth with his approach. He has that safety look (maybe it's the No. 35) but then he hits the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-1 and stands him up for no gain, and you remember, he's a linebacker. Can't wait to see what Dan Quinn will be able to do with him.
- Back in late January, I had the chance to stand in the rain for about 30 minutes and chat with Jalen Tolbert at the Senior Bowl and he was very forthcoming about a lot of things, showing me that he seems ready to take his game to the next step. And while he has echoed that in every interview this offseason, there is a point in which it's time to play and enough talking about it. Well, he got the chance to do that and made the most of it. The offensive pass interference was bogus to me, but it's a good thing he was able to make a play later in the drive for the touchdown. Nice showing for Tolbert, who probably has regained the lead for the No. 4 wide receiver spot.
- Deuce Vaughn, you're on the team. Not sure if a sixth-round pick has solidified his spot on the roster so early in the preseason, but this is a no-brainer. In fact, you could tell this was probably going to happen long before the game. But the Cowboys drafted a playmaker. Not a short playmaker, not a little playmaker, but a football-playing-dude playmaker. This guy is a straight-up running back. I really don't think you have to find gimmick plays for him. He's a running back, and that's where he's going to play. Now, they'll figure out when and where to do it, but it was fun to watch him play. Plus, the crowd is already loving him, chanting "Deuuuuuuce" with every touch of the ball.
- OK, that being said, KaVontae Turpin didn't help himself too much. Turpin figured to be the lead returner after a Pro Bowl season last year, but a fumble on his first punt return set up a score by the Jags. He then had a dropped pass as well before making a catch on the Cowboys' first scoring drive. I think it's early to say he took a big step backward, but Turpin really didn't jump forward.
- Dante Fowler might be the team's fourth-best pass rusher – maybe the fifth. That's pretty scary for opposing offenses. This defense has a chance to just send out rushers in waves.
- Damone Clark kind of looks like the guy that wore No. 18 at LSU. If you watched any LSU games in the past, you'll know No. 18 was always a great player. Clark was definitely that dude and he looked the part here Saturday night. I thought he looked leaner than last year, which makes sense because he was coming off an injury. But the way he chases the ball from sideline to sideline was impressive to me.
- Every time I get asked about tight end, I always start with Jake Ferguson. I can honestly say I've been saying this all offseason because I think he's probably the most well-rounded of the tight ends right now, and so far, after one game, he showed that. I think he's gotten much better as a blocker but also has that down-field element too. He was the reason they had any offense in the first half. I look forward to seeing what he'll provide for Dak Prescott, especially with these wide receivers demanding so much attention.
- What about the kicker? Man, Brandon Aubrey has been given the chance to get every rep for the rest of training camp and the preseason. That also means all eyes are on him. But you can't miss extra points. Brett Maher had a phenomenal regular season in 2022 but the missed PATs in the playoffs did him in. Aubrey made a field goal and extra point but badly hooked one early in the fourth. Not saying it's time to move on, but it's probably time to get someone else in camp with him again, maybe a veteran this time.