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Game Of Screens: New Falcons Emphasis


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Game Of Screens

By:Daniel Cox | June 6th, 2012

Screen game, screen game, screen game. The lack of one is all many Falcons fans wanted to talk about last season. Some tweaks have been made this offseason and it appears the screen pass will be a part of Atlanta’s offense in 2012 — a bigger part of it — and many of the players welcome the addition.

When you finish statistically as one of the worst teams at something in the NFL, the wise thing to do is to try to get better.

While the Falcons may not have actually been the worst team in terms of ability in the screen game last season, they finished in the bottom of the league in attempts. That’s about to change.

The addition of new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter fueled speculation that Atlanta would begin to more frequently utilize what has been underutilized to this point. With players like running back Jacquizz Rodgers and slot receiver Harry Douglas in place to benefit from the screen game, it makes sense to at least try it.

“Obviously, we want to get better in our screen game,” center Todd McClure said Wednesday. “We haven’t been too productive in that area lately. There’s been a big emphasis on that. You can already see with some of the things we’re doing, we’re going to have some big plays in the screen game this year.”

While the vertical passing game is a hot topic in the high-flying modern era of the NFL, the screen game is still just as necessary. Like a strong running game, the screen pass helps keep defenses off balance and creates respect for all the different ways they can manipulate you.

Roddy White and Julio Jones on the outside at receiver will help take the top off the defense in the more vertical aspects of the passing game, but they will figure to get in on the mix as well. Jones especially is explosive with the ball in his hands, turning a short pass into a long gain. His 54 catches netted an average gain of 17.8 yards.

An emphasis on the screen game will allow, in theory, for better protection from the offensive line as well. With a more well-rounded offense, every play can be better disguised. McClure said some new coaching points along the offensive line are helping with how well they’re executing the blocking schemes in the screen game as well. All of it combined well help them better protect quarterback Matt Ryan on the short pass.

“Offensive linemen love to have a screen game that the defensive line has to respect and they’re not just pinning their ears back rushing the quarterback,” McClure said. “That’s an offensive lineman’s friend to have that screen game going. We’re hoping to, and we will, get it going this year.”

The running back trio of Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling each stand to benefit from the screen game as well. Each of the three brings a different skill set to the position, but a screen pass is something they can all handle. Last season, Turner caught a career-high 17 passes. He said he’s happy to catch more.

“Yes, if the ball is in my hands, I’m always excited,” Turner said. “Who doesn’t get excited about that? It’s a different twist with things. We’re pretty much running the same stuff but with a little twist to it.”

The consensus on the offense is that an improved screen game in 2012 can benefit everyone. The players have seen an emphasis on it early in the OTAs process and they’re anticipating good things to come from it.

“I think our offense could really benefit from it this year,” McClure said. “I think some in the past if it didn’t work early we’d tend to get away from it or didn’t do it at all. That was the first things when this offensive staff came is they said we’re going to be a great screen team.”

Needless to say, they don’t expect a last-place finish this year.

Published 01 hour ago hours ago by Daniel Cox.

http://twitter.com/falconsdcox

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From another Daniel Cox article:

"The screen game on offense has been a hot topic of late. Many of the players talked about its role in the offense on Wednesday. Rodgers is the type of player that could directly benefit and then impact Atlanta’s offense with a larger screen game in the arsenal. He caught 43 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns out of the backfield during his final season at Oregon State. He anticipates a role in that phase of the offense this season.

“Right now, everybody is getting a shot at it, to run the screen,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of that. Coach Dirk is a big man who is huge on running the screens, so we have a lot of screens in store.”

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I like that we have a bunch of screen plays to choose from and that Koetter plans to use it to keep a D off balance. I could call the screen pass as a fan so I know the D was looking for it when we were in 3rd and long, Rodgers entered the game, and we were struggling to give Ryan time and the CB's were jumping short routes to the WR's and doubling Gonzalez. Most of the time it came up a couple yds short.

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Pulled a couple of pages right out of the Saints' playbook, eh?  laugh.png

Contrary to what you think, the screen play is not soley indicative to the Saints offense.We just had an as*hat of an OC last year, one who claims we didn't have the personnel to run a screen. What a load of HS.
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According to Mularkey, the Falcons OL could not block well enough out in space to run screen plays effectively.

Yet he never hesitated to pull or trap on run plays.

The fact that we are running screens with the same personnel MM had and they are working shows further how poor MM is as an OC.

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I oftened wondered this as well until I saw us try to execute a few. Then I totally understood why we didn't.

Because they didn't even practice them. Koetter is running screens with the same OLine. Yes it's practice, but when have you heard "perfectly executed screen to Michael Turner"? There is no excuse for not running screens.

They sure looked good out in front of Roddy in that Titans game.

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I oftened wondered this as well until I saw us try to execute a few. Then I totally understood why we didn't.

Don't you think that falls on the coaching staff? Isn't it the responsibility of the coaching staff to properly train the offense to run such a simple play? We ran numerous plays in the giant's playoff loss that didn't work but it didn't stop us from running them over and over! So I don't understand your argument.

Edited by peoriabird
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Guest TheIdowu

According to Mularkey, the Falcons OL could not block well enough out in space to run screen plays effectively.

I was just going to say this

I oftened wondered this as well until I saw us try to execute a few. Then I totally understood why we didn't.

and this

Edited by TheIdowu
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Don't you think that falls on the coaching staff? Isn't it the responsibility of the coaching staff to properly train the offense to run such a simple play? We ran numerous plays in the giant's playoff loss that didn't work but it didn't stop us from running them over and over! So I don't understand your argument.

THANK YOU!

We repeatedly ran the same tired plays that wouldn't work against quality teams, yet made up excuses for why we didn't run plays that would work. But then, only a few months later, our OLine all of a sudden is running screens...

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Guest TheIdowu

Pulled a couple of pages right out of the Saints' playbook, eh? laugh.png

and what did you all do, pull a page from the Eagles' playbook? two can play this game

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Guest TheIdowu

Don't you think that falls on the coaching staff? Isn't it the responsibility of the coaching staff to properly train the offense to run such a simple play? We ran numerous plays in the giant's playoff loss that didn't work but it didn't stop us from running them over and over! So I don't understand your argument.

I don't believe anyone is arguing with you. . . .what's wrong with yall cats this morning?!?!

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I like that the OL knows that not running screens let the defense pin their ears back. You want to run some screens, some misdirections, and some cut blocks...just to make the defenders have to pay attention.

That said, the whole concept of screens is getting the ball to a guy who can make 1 or 2 guys miss and navigate traffic well. Turner is likely the worst starting back in the league at this. He's very good at other things, but being nimble of foot is not one.

Hopefully they can get a couple to him just to keep the D honest, but get some out to Quizz and Snelling on earlier downs. The screen game will likely only work if we incorporate Quizz and Snelling into the entire game...so any play could be a run up the middle or a screen.

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Falcons ready to use screen passes

Jun 7 11:10 AM ET

By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

What you are about to read just might be the best news of the offseason for the Atlanta Falcons.

The team that used screen passes less than anyone in the league last year appears to be ready to make them a big part of their offense.

“There’s been a big emphasis on that,’’ veteran center Todd McClure said. “You can already see with some of the things we’re doing, we’re going to have some big plays in the screen game this year.”

That would make sense on so many levels. Even a fair amount of screens would help keep defenses off-balance and they could create more opportunities for big plays in the downfield passing game and for Michael Turner in the running game. Some quick passes also could make life easier for an offensive line that had trouble protecting quarterback Matt Ryan last season.

“Offensive linemen love to have a screen game that the defensive line has to respect and they’re not just pinning their ears back rushing the quarterback,” McClure said. “That’s an offensive lineman’s friend to have that screen game going. We’re hoping to, and we will, get it going this year.”

Turner isn’t known as the world’s most dangerous receiver out of the backfield, but I think the idea in Atlanta is to get second-year pro Jacquizz Rodgers more involved as a receiver out of the backfield in 2012. Slot receiver Harry Douglas also has the potential to do damage on screen passes. According to McClure, new coordinator Dirk Koetter seems intent on making the screen a big part of Atlanta’s offense.

“I think our offense could really benefit from it this year,” McClure said. “I think some in the past if it didn’t work early we’d tend to get away from it or didn’t do it at all. That was the first thing when this offensive staff came is they said we’re going to be a great screen team.”

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