The Dallas Cowboys made the 322-mile trip from Oxnard, California to Santa Clara in order to face the San Francisco 49ers in their second preseason game of the year on Sunday night. And during the contest, which was a 23-6 blowout loss for the Cowboys, many of Dallas’ younger players played well in this game. But one poor performance in particular made the entire contest hard to watch.
Despite the Cowboys electing to keep him on their active roster all of last season, make no mistake, second-year quarterback Dustin Vaughan is fighting for a roster spot in Dallas. And after his performance on Sunday, that task became a bit more difficult. The 24-year old gunslinger out of West Texas A&M posted his worst performance as a professional on Sunday night, completing only 7 of his 16 passing attempts for 84 yards and two interceptions.
"“It was difficult to watch Dustin Vaughan play in this game,” wrote former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus on the team’s official website following the game. “The success that he was able to have in that San Diego game must now feel like light years ago. It appeared that his two interceptions in this game affected him in a negative way. Instead of coming out and firing like he did in the Chargers game, he was tentative and cautious. He locked onto the receivers and his accuracy was all over the place. Instead of building on a good game, he took a step back.”"
More from The Landry Hat
- 3 ways Cowboys’ Dak Prescott can have a bounce-back season in 2023
- Cowboys News: Dallas sets pre-draft visit with potential Dalton Schultz upgrade
- NFL executives heaping praise on offseason is uncharted territory for Cowboys
- 3 free agent signings from NFC East rivals that left Cowboys fans laughing
- Cowboys News: Brandin Cooks sends flattering message to CeeDee Lamb, Stephon Gilmore
Due to his heavy workload last offseason, Vaughan spent an entire month earlier this year without throwing a football in order to rest his arm. He attributed this mistake to his slow start this offseason. But fans were encouraged as of late, as the young man has looked like his old self. In the Cowboys preseason opener, Vaughan recorded 106 passing yards, completing 12 of his 18 passes against the San Diego Chargers.
But against the 49ers, Vaughan looked completely unprepared to face the Niners’ shifty defense. And the Cowboys were likely forced to play him much earlier and more than they wanted to due to the concussion suffered by primary back-up quarterback Brandon Weeden early in the second quarter. It’s now very clear Vaughan is nowhere near ready to take compete with Weeden for the back-up role behind starter Tony Romo.
In fact, Vaughan could be headed to the practice squad (or worse) now due to the rising performances by rookie quarterback Jameill Showers. Not only did the former UTEP quarterback complete 8 of his 17 passes for 80 yards, one touchdown and one interception on Sunday night against the 49ers, but he also had three special teams tackles. Shower’s versatility to play special teams and his mobility in the pocket could be coveted by the Cowboys more than what Vaughan has shown in total this offseason.
If fans can take one thing away from Vaughan’s performance on Sunday, it should be the fact that if Romo ever suffers a season-ending injury, at that very moment, the season is over for the Cowboys. But that’s true for most teams in the NFL.