Cowboys rookie QB making his mark on special teams

SAN DIEGO -- Earlier this month, we wrote about how the Cowboys' fourth-string quarterback was accepting reps on special teams in an effort to improve his roster stock. Most quarterbacks would balk at the suggestion that they focus on anything but arm mechanics and reading defenses, but Jameill Showers said he would do just about anything to stand out.

In the second quarter of San Diego's 17-7 win over Dallas here on Thursday night, Showers began to do just that. In front of an announced crowd of nearly 60,000 -- many of them Dallas fans -- the rookie out of UTEP made two impact plays on special teams in the first half and played the last quarter under center. In kick coverage Showers was fun to watch: he may have saved a touchdown with 3:55 left in the second when he dragged down Javontee Herndon, who was on his way to heavy-heeled kicker Tom Hornsey. A few minutes later he sealed a block that nearly sent Lucky Whitehead to the house.

"I felt pretty good," Showers said of his special teams play. "I got a lot of text messages saying my tackle looked like a quarterback tackle, a bunch of my teammates making fun of me."

Jokes aside, Showers' special teams work was impressive and important, and he'll likely need more of the same to make the team. Incumbent third quarterback Dustin Vaughan was sharp on Thursday, going 12-of-18 in the air for 106 yards and meshing well with the scheme installed by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Showers wasn't terrible (5-of-11, 40 yards) but he ran a number of naked bootlegs that are on the edge of the playbook.

"A guy like that, you've got to keep him around because he can multiple things, so I'm rooting for him," rookie cornerback Byron Jones said afterward. "He's another rookie trying to scratch and claw to make the team, so I'm rooting for him."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down what Geno Smith's injury means for the Jets and recaps the first Hard Knocks episode in Houston.

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