Here’s why ex-Cowboys players excel elsewhere


The recent success of two former Dallas Cowboys players spurs the question why weren’t they just as effective while they were still in Dallas?

The Dallas Cowboys have a long list of ex-players who have excel elsewhere after leaving Dallas. Some of the bigger names include former Jacksonville Jaguars wide recevier Jimmy Smith and current New England wide out Danny Amendola. Recently, there have been a couple infamous ex-Cowboys making significant contributions on other NFL roster after Dallas released them earlier this season. Those two former players being quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Christine Michael.

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Weeden was released by Dallas after failing to win a single game this season during his three starts under center as the primary back-up to injured starter Tony Romo. The former first round bust landed in Houston and has aided them to two victories in the past two weeks, placing Houston on the edge of making only their third postseason appearance in franchise history. As the Texans’ starter last Sunday, Weeden completed 15 of his 24 passes for 200 yards, two passing scores and one rushing touchdown.

As for Michael, the Cowboys traded for the former Texas A&M running back just before the start of the regular season. After being a healthy scratch for several weeks, the fourth-year back ended up only carrying the ball a total of 15 times for 51 yards in five games before the Cowboys cut him loose. After a quick stop with the Washington Redskins, Michael ended up back with his original team, the Seattle Seahawks. In a victory over Cleveland in Week 15, the 25-year old was the game’s leading rusher with 84 yards on 16 carries.

It spurs the question: Why were those players unable to make similar strides while they were still with the Cowboys? How did these players suddenly find the success elsewhere that so eluded them in Dallas? One longtime Cowboys columnist thinks he knows the reason why.

"“I’ve longed believed the Cowboys do not like playing youngsters,” responded Columnist Rick Gosselin while answering chat questions on the Dallas Morning News website Wednesday.  “It’s starting to change in the last 2-3 years, but this team used to be afraid of its youth. Which is why so many draft picks washed out. They didn’t play them enough to find out if they even could play. Veteran players are less likely to make mistakes that rookies do. So the older guys play, the younger guys sit. As a result, young players have not developed under this coaching staff than they do at other places.”"

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It’s one of the bigger questions that will likely follow this current coaching regime in Dallas this offseason: Are they evaluating and developing players correctly in Dallas? Obviously, there have been some missteps in both areas when you talk about players like Weeden and Michael. Other ex-players like running back Joseph Randle and cornerback Tyler Patmon could also be thrown into that mix.

But maybe our focus should be more on how this Cowboys coaching staff is developing the younger talent that’s on their current roster. Names like wide out Devin Street, defensive tackle David Irving and cornerback Ayodeji Olatoye should all be watched very carefully this offseason. Will these players become steady contributors for the Cowboys or simply more waiver wire chum for other teams to sift through? The more talent that slips through Dallas’ net, the more critical we should become about who is evaluating and developing these players in Dallas.