Things That Make You Go Hmmm ... Former Cowboys in The Playoffs

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The playoffs start this weekend, and while the Cowboys didn't make the tournament this season, a couple of former Cowboys are playing for playoff teams this year. In fact, 11 of the 12 playoff teams have at least one former Cowboy on their official roster.

While watching the early games on the RedZone Channel on Sunday, I saw Clifton Geathers record his first sack in the NFL - only he did it wearing a Colts uniform. Geathers originally joined the Cowboys late in 2010 and was with team off and on before finally being waived during roster cuts in August 2012.

On a whim, I looked up the rosters of the 12 playoff teams and scanned those rosters for familiar names. What I found were 19 players on playoff rosters that had been with the Cowboys at one time in the past.

Here's an overview of which former Cowboys are now in the playoffs with their new teams:

AFC NFC
Team Player(s) Team Player(s)
Denver LB Keith Brooking, FB Chris Gronkowski, CB Mario Butler Atlanta OG Harland Gunn, TE Andrew Szczerba
New England FB Tony Fiammetta San Francisco OG Leonard Davis
Houston LB Bradie James, CB Alan Ball Green Bay LOLB Erik Walden
Baltimore LB Adrian Hamilton, RB Lonyae Miller Washington DE Stephen Bowen, K Kai Forbath
Indianapolis DE Clifton Geathers, CB Teddy Williams Seattle - -
Cincinnati CB Terence Newman, CB Adam Jones Minnesota S Andrew Sendejo
Players denoted in bold are on the 53-man roster

Note that this is just a result of a cursory glance at the team rosters, there may be more former Cowboys on the playoff rosters than are listed in the table above. Obviously not all of these players are on the 53-man roster, even fewer are regular starters for their team. Tony Fiammetta for example is on New England's Exempt/Left Squad list after he left the Patriots to take care of some family issues. He's eligible to return in 2013 and until then, the Patriots hold his rights - which means he's technically still part of that organization and therefore ended up in the table above.

I was asked how those former players compare with the players on the current Cowboys roster. Here's how:

The table below lists the former Cowboys players on the 53-man playoff rosters and shows their snapcount and PFF player grade for 2012. The table also shows the current Cowboys player with the closest snapcount at the same position.

Former Players Current Players
Player Snaps Grade Player Snaps Grade
Terence Newman 878 +8.6 Brandon Carr
1,043 0.1
Stephen Bowen 808 -3.7 Jason Hatcher 784 +25.7
Erik Walden 783 -25.5 Anthony Spencer 872 +23.5
Bradie James 655 -2.2 Bruce Carter 625 +3.5
Pacman Jones 608 +11.1 Morris Claiborne
909 -4.5
Keith Brooking 468 -7.8 Dan Connor 350 -3.6
Leonard Davis 131 -4.8 Derrick Dockery 180 -5.0
Alan Ball 100 -0.8 Sterling Moore 102 -1.6
Chris Gronkowski 39 -0.3 Lawrence Vickers 305 -0.7
Adrian Hamilton 10 -0.4 Kyle Wilber 16 -2.5
Andrew Sendejo 3 0.0 Vince Agnew 12 -1.4
Kai Forbath - - +5.8 Dan Bailey - - +20.8
Harland Gunn 0 - - Ronald Leary 0 - -

As a group, the current Cowboys players come away with the better overall grades. But all the PFF grades in the world won't change the fact that the group on the left is in the playoffs, while the group on the right isn't.

Hmmm...

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