In 2005, your columnist chatted at a cocktail party with Don Shula, asking him if there was any fundamental football innovation yet to be tried. "Someday," Shula said with a twinkle in his eye, "there will be a coach who doesn't punt."Actually there was one in the NFL back in the 1970s who had some success doing not only that, but preferred to use his placekicker (Efren Herrera) as a wide (no pun intended) receiver; the expansion era Seattle Seahawks' Jack Patera.
Patera's team had a weak defense, but a future Hall of Famer in receiver Steve Largent. He reasonably figured it made sense to keep the defense off the field whenever possible, so,often eschewed punting on fourth down and short yardage in favor of handing the ball to the likes of running back Sherman Smith
He also had the onside kick in his playbook and regularly used it if they noticed the opposing team's receiving team 'cheating' on the kick-offs.
All of which Easterbrook is touting now as novel play calling.