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2023 Cowboys rookie report: Luke Schoonmaker makes his mark against Jets

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By: David Howman

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Cowboys rookies are starting to do some things with Luke Schoonmaker and Deuce Vaughn making plays.

The Cowboys are riding high at 2-0 following a dominant 30-10 win over the Jets. While plenty of things went well for them in this game, an underrated aspect is how Dallas saw a lot of good flashes from their rookies in this game. Let’s take a look.

iDL Mazi Smith

As was the case a week ago, rookie Mazi Smith didn’t see a whole lot of reps due to the Jets being forced to throw the ball quite often after getting down early in the game. Last week, Smith played one fewer snap than fellow run stuffer Johnathan Hankins, and against the Jets he actually saw one more snap than Hankins; either way, Smith only played on 23% of defensive snaps.

With yet another small sample size, it’s hard to really get a feel for how the rookie is doing, but he did look good when on the field. Smith had a handful of plays where he plugged a gap and forced the running back to go a different direction, and there were at least two pass rush reps where Smith executed a stunt with an EDGE player that resulted in said EDGE getting a sack or pressure. On another rep, Smith recognized a screen and covered the running back, that forced Zach Wilson to hold the ball and Micah Parsons got the sack. None of those things show up in the stat box for Smith, but it was a good day of work in minimal action.

TE Luke Schoonmaker

Last week, I noted that Luke Schoonmaker could see more opportunities after Jake Ferguson struggled to catch the ball against the Giants. Ferguson, to his credit, bounced back against the Giants and caught three of his four targets, but Schoonmaker also had a chance to make an impact.

Schoonmaker only received one target in the game, but he did snag the pass for a touchdown. He also tied Peyton Hendershot with 36% of the offensive snaps, doing the majority of his work as a run blocker. It makes sense that Dallas is easing him into things after a late start in training camp, but Schoonmaker has done nothing to shake the staff’s confidence in him.

LB DeMarvion Overshown

DeMarvion Overshown tore his ACL in the preseason and is on the injured reserve for the year.

DL Viliami Fehoko

Viliami Fehoko was inactive for this game.

OL Asim Richards

After not doing so last week, Asim Richards had his number called to block for the many field goals Dallas attempted against the Jets. That gave him six total snaps on special teams for the day, but Richards also got into the game on offense later on. Once the game was well in hand, the Cowboys pulled Zack Martin and moved T.J. Bass to right guard with Richards replacing him at left guard for a total of five snaps.

CB Eric Scott Jr.

Eric Scott Jr. was inactive for this game.

RB Deuce Vaughn

After really only seeing work in garbage time last week, Deuce Vaughn clearly had a larger role on Sunday. He saw 13 snaps on offense that turned into six touches. Vaughn had three carries for 16 yards as well as three catches for 16 yards. He had one especially nice play that highlighted Vaughn’s extra bit of juice in the open field.

It wasn’t a perfect game for Vaughn, as he had one carry stuffed at the line of scrimmage and a catch that was bobbled but brought in, though the bobble cost him a shot at moving the sticks. Overall, though, it was a positive game for Vaughn and likely enough to encourage the staff to expand his role moving forward.

WR Jalen Brooks

Jalen Brooks was active for this game and made his NFL debut with Brandin Cooks out with an injury. Brooks didn’t play much, with just 15 snaps on offense and 10 of them coming as a blocker, all of them in garbage time. He saw more work on special teams, with 13 snaps there for a 46% special teams snap share. It wasn’t much for Brooks, but a solid first game that justified his spot on the roster.

G T.J. Bass

T.J. Bass once again got some action on offense this week when Chuma Edoga got knocked out with an injury right before halftime. Bass played the whole second half, totaling 42 offensive snaps, but had minimal pass blocking reps due to the Cowboys’ lead. He did allow one pressure in 14 pass blocking reps, but overall played well in spot duty.

FB Hunter Luepke

Hunter Luepke had a busy day against the Jets, seeing 18 snaps on offense with 17 of them coming as a fullback. The Cowboys frequently lined Luepke up as an extra tight end before motioning him into the backfield, though he did have one snap where he remained at tight end.

Luepke was used almost exclusively as a blocker, with just three routes run all day. That’s his bread and butter, though, and Luepke had more than a few big blocks that helped open up some holes in the running game.

K Brandon Aubrey

Is anyone worried about Brandon Aubrey still? Sunday’s game against the Jets should have put to rest any concerns over the rookie kicker, as he attempted five field goals and hit every single one of them with ease.

Aubrey’s longest field goal came from 55, his first real test from deep, and the ball split the uprights with room to spare. It was a good amount of work for the young kicker, who seems to be settling into a groove through two games.

Originally posted on Blogging The Boys