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Yasinskas: Screen Game Clicked For Falcons


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Screen game clicked for Falcons

Jan 1 11:31 AM ET

By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

As Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter interviews for jobs as a head coach, it’s time to take a look at one of the most significant wrinkles he brought to the Falcons.

That’s the screen-passing game. Predecessor Mike Mularkey rarely used the screen in his four seasons with the Falcons, but Koetter made it a staple this season.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Matt Ryan attempted 67 screen passes. Only Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick (78) had more screen attempts. Ryan completed 60 of those screens for 483 yards, which ranked behind only Fitzpatrick (534) and New England's Tom Brady (491).

But the most significant stat is that Ryan had a league-high six touchdown passes of screens. Ryan did not have a screen pass go for a touchdown in either of the previous two seasons.

Carolina’s Cam Newton was second with four and Fitzpatrick was third with three. No other quarterback had more than two touchdowns on screens.

Newton had reasonable success with the screen. He completed 37 of 51 attempts for 410 yards, which ranked fourth in the NFL.

The other two NFC South teams didn’t have a lot of success with screen passing.

New Orleans’ Drew Brees completed 40 of 53 attempts for 351 yards with just one touchdown. Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman completed 28 of 39 attempts for 281 yards and one touchdown.

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Dirk K really hasn't been much different from Mularkey. He just kinda did a few things that we wanted and we said "Oh, that's awesome" but it was really more Matt Ryan stepping up and improving his mechanics and not being afraid to gut that ball than it was anything.

Koetter just decided to run more screens (which are awesome) and involve Julio more (thank GOD). It was really the small things he did very well, he wasn't a total impressive mastermind, just used a gameplan that benefited to our players strengths.

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Dirk K really hasn't been much different from Mularkey. He just kinda did a few things that we wanted and we said "Oh, that's awesome" but it was really more Matt Ryan stepping up and improving his mechanics and not being afraid to gut that ball than it was anything.

Koetter just decided to run more screens (which are awesome) and involve Julio more (thank GOD). It was really the small things he did very well, he wasn't a total impressive mastermind, just used a gameplan that benefited to our players strengths.

False. By implementing a screen game, he made dramatic changes to this offense and gave Ryan the opportunity to slow down the pass rush. Which in turn made Ryan's job a lot easier. Don't underestimate the power of the Screen Game.[/Darth Vader] Ryan wouldn't have had close to 69% completion percentage without the screen game either.

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