Skip to main content


Presented by

Mailbag: Is position flexibility always a good thing?


The Cowboys now seem to be stressing that players have more flexibility. Whether it be along the offensive or defensive lines, in the secondary, even the tight ends, the team seems to expect players to be able to handle multiple roles. First, is this smart? Does a guy risk being good at many things rather than great at one? Also, is this Mike McCarthy's influence or just life in today's NFL?Marques Reynolds/Louisville, KY

Patrik Walker: Yes and no. It really depends entirely on who is being asked to flex and what sacrifices are being made to see them attempt it. In other words, too much of anything is a bad idea. The best example I can recall from recent memory that went very poorly was Byron Jones — a stout cornerback whose career with the Cowboys was effectively muted by yo-yoing him between CB and safety our of positional desperation. But when there is no desperation and the player is capable of if, like Jayron Kearse, great things can happen. It's truly on a case-by-case basis but it's never the best idea to do anything in life out of desperation. Thankfully, the Cowboys' decision to flex players as of late has paid off quite well and, not coincidentally, it's largely being made to improve the team and not because they're scrambling and putting players in bad situations (like Jones arguably was) versus putting them in positions to succeed (like Kearse). 

Nick Harris: With today's game -- especially on the defensive side of the ball -- featuring more aspects of positionless football, being able to do multiple things is increasing in importance. I think it's the right thing to look for, and I'll use Tyler Smith as the example here. Naturally a guard, Smith had to slide out to tackle last season for the majority of the year which better prepared him to slide back inside when Tyron Smith healed up. Having the experience at tackle better prepared him for his guard responsibilities because he had a better understanding of what was going on with the guy next to him. It allowed Tyler Smith to be even better as a guard with the extra layer of understanding. The positional flexibility discussion has definitely been a part of Mike McCarthy's vocabulary, but I would attribute the influence more to Will McClay and his scouting staff. In the draft process, there's a big emphasis on finding guys that can do multiple things and they were able to score big in those areas in April's draft.

Related Content