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The Dallas Cowboys didn’t win their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the goal was continuing the process of evaluating their players.

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys finally got to hit someone else but their preseason opener ended in a 28-23 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Winning or losing wasn’t the point of this game, what was important was the team needed to take their evaluations to the next stage.

After a few weeks of practice in Oxnard, the Cowboys put their offseason work to the test and there were some interesting results. Despite not playing a high number of their starters, Dallas ran some of their new ‘Texas Coast’ offense, Mike McCarthy was the offensive play caller, and some of the camp standouts backed up their work in the loss.

Here’s what we learned about the Cowboys in their preseason opener:

Deuce Vaughn stole the show

There hasn’t been a player that has excited the fan base in some time quite like the short stature runner. Vaughn came into the game as the fifth running back on the depth chart, but it’s unlikely he’ll stay there after his electric performance. The sixth-rounder out of Kansas State led the offense with 50 yards on eight carries, which included an ankle-breaking 26-yard run and a four-yard touchdown scamper.

Vaughn also caught three passes and had a kick return of 30-yards. This was the same type of show that Vaughn put on in college, but some felt he couldn’t do in the NFL given his size. Vaughn dispelled that notion in his first big league action, and he was the story for the Cowboys in the loss.

Jalen Tolbert revenge tour kicks off

After a rough rookie season, the second-year wideout had been turning some heads in camp, and Tolbert proved that he’s a different player this season. Tolbert caught two passes for 29 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

The score came on a filthy double move that had the Jacksonville defender lost in space and left Tolbert wide open. It was an immaculate route, a sign that Tolbert continues to grow as a receiver.

Last year’s fourth-round pick is listed as the current starter at tight end and Ferguson solidified his status with his performance against the Jaguars. Ferguson caught three passes for 38 yards, which included a beautiful seam route that gained 26-yards.

The Cowboys drafted a TE in the second round of April’s draft, but Ferguson still appears to be the top TE on the roster.

John Stephens Jr. keeps making plays

Ferguson wasn’t the only tight end who had a nice game, undrafted free agent John Stephens had a great debut as well. Stephens led the Cowboys in receptions with five, and yards with 56, while also scoring on a 15-yard catch.

Stephens has been consistently one of the best TEs in camp, and he proved that he’s no fluke with his preseason output.

The Dan Quinn-led Cowboys have been the best team at creating turnovers over the last two seasons, but they gave the ball away three times in the loss. Pro Bowl returner KaVontae Turpin lost his first punt return of the year, allowing the Jaguars to score a touchdown, and RB Rico Dowdle fumbled away a scoring chance when he lost the ball at the one-yard line.

Third string quarterback Will Grier had a solid night overall, but he did throw an interception. No team is going to win many games by giving it away three times and the turnovers soured an otherwise fun day of football for the Cowboys.

Brandon Aubrey has mixed results

The Cowboys are trying to find out if the former USFL standout is the answer at placekicker, but Aubrey provided the same mixed results that he’s had in camp. Aubrey made the only field goal he attempted, a short kick at 29-yards. He also made two extra points, but he missed a third.

With no kick over 35-yards on the night, Aubrey needed to be perfect to help ease any concerns. That didn’t happen and the frustration over the Cowboys’ kicking situation continues to grow.

The Cowboys played without any starters on the offensive line, and it showed. It was a struggle for the backups, who gave up four sacks against the Jaguars.

Depth has been a big question mark for Dallas’ offensive line group this summer and the first preseason game did nothing allay those concerns. Holdout Zack Martin’s position for a contract rework was strengthened by a disappointing performance by his offensive linemate’s shortcomings.

What stood out the most to you from the preseason opener for the Cowboys? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.