Position flexibility is key in the NFL. Effective offenses can resemble chameleons, morphing into a variety of formations from the same personnel package. This was a quality of the vaunted Triplets Cowboys in their ’90s heyday. From a base two-back, one tight end, two-WR (21) package, Dallas could run power football or spread out an opponent and go empty, since fullback Daryl Johnson and running back Emmitt Smith could line up as receivers, wingbacks, slotbacks and in Johnston’s case, as a second tight end.
Thursday night against Tampa Bay, the Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore showed his offense had that Triplets-like shape shifting quality, using a power look to attack through the air, producing a thrilling shootout Dallas nearly won.
A look at five plays from those first two series shows how Dallas can go strong or go vertical from the same base personnel, and how this could create more trouble for opponents going forward.