Dustin Vaughan remembers the nerves from a year ago on cutdown day.
The Dallas Cowboys hadn’t kept a third quarterback in recent years, and Vaughan hoped he’d shown enough as an undrafted rookie out of West Texas A&M to make them reconsider a third quarterback.
It turned out, Vaughan had done enough to justify a spot on the 53-man roster. This year is no different for Vaughan.
“There will be nerves,” Vaughan said. “There will be just that anticipation of hopefully having another year with the Dallas Cowboys. I think that’s what everybody wants when they’re here. When they start OTAs, minicamp, training camp, you want to be on this team.
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“A lot of people say you’re trying out for the other 31 teams in the NFL, and you are, but everybody wants to be on this team. It’s a big deal having the star on your helmet, and that’s what you really want. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Vaughan, 24, has had an inconsistent training camp and preseason, and some wonder whether the Cowboys will use a coveted roster spot on a third quarterback for a second consecutive season.
Through three preseason games, Vaughan has completed 24 of 47 passes for 228 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
He’ll have one more opportunity to show he deserves a spot Thursday against the Houston Texans.
“It’s hard not to look forward to a game when you’re a football player,” Vaughan said. “It’ll be fun. You get to see where you’ve come from the beginning of training camp. It’ll be good. Definitely a lot of things to work on from past preseason games.
“So hopefully being able to apply the things I’ve learned from those games in this fourth game will be big for me.”
Carrying a third quarterback might be viewed as a luxury, particularly if the organization feels it would be better suited carrying a fourth tight end or a fullback instead.
“Roster spots are valuable, [the quarterback position] is valuable,” coach Jason Garrett said. “And we certainly value it. We want to have a guy who we think we can develop to go along with the guys who are more likely to play.
“But, you know, you have to work it through. Often times those decisions are this guy or this guy at another position, how important is it to our football team. So, we’ll see. We have some hard decisions to make over the next few days to decide what’s best for our team.”