My blog posts on our screen game have probably been the most popular/asked about of all the content on my blog. The screen game has been the best part of our offense for the 2 years we have been spread but I began noticing a problem with our screens last year. They were still very successful but we began having some “run by” issues with my OL. We were so anxious to get down the field that pursuit would often come right behind us and make the play. I preached “not running by color” but it didn’t help. I decided that a tweak to my “out, up, in ” rules was needed. Our entire run game is rule based. I look at our screen game as outside runs so I decided to give my OL steadfast rules to be able to always know who they are responsible for and thus greatly reduce the risk of running past the defender they are suppose to block.
I will explain the specific assignments later on in this post.
We run 4 types of screens:
- fast screen = throw it right now
- play action = fake run away then throw
- jailbreak = sell drop back then throw
- slip/double screen = RB slip screen with jailbreak on the backside ( I will explain this one later on in a separate post)
On our fast screen I really just want the ball our there fast… I will call this because I have the defense either outnumbered or out leveraged. I don’t need my OL picking guys up down field but what I do need is for them to seal the box and keep the defensive end from getting in the quarterbacks window to throw. On fast we block it just like OZ to the play side.
Our play action and jailbreak screens remain nearly identical as my prior articles. The WRs will always block the most dangerous defender(s). Up front we are either showing run steps away or selling pass set at the snap, we engage, and release flat down LOS … Now is where the change to blocking rules comes in to play.
OL BLOCKING RULES
(After working flat down LOS)
Play side tackle – Alley defender
- The alley defender is either the corner or the defenses overhang player. Since the WRs are blocking the most dangerous, someone is left unblocked and this can change depending on leverage and depth of defenders. That’s why I describe this rule as alley, he is running the alley thinking 1st LB outside the box… If he sees him being blocked then he knows to keep working flat to the Corner.
Play side guard – 1st LB in the box
- It’s that simple… He works flat down LOS and picks up First LB in the box from the sideline.
Center – 2nd LB in the box
- It’s that simple… He works flat down LOS and picks up Second LB in the box from the sideline.
We ran right past these 2 players a lot last year and they pursued out screens very well from inside out and this change should stop this.
Backside Guard and Tackle have the safeties… Essentially creating a touchdown alley or cutback opportunity for the WR.
I believe these changes to our screens will improve our consistency from down to down in our screen game. We get a hat on a hat against every look we may see and we have a more concrete, definitive set of rules that are much less open to interpretation than my previous screen blocking system.