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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Wide Receiver screen

    In years past, it was a play that Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians would call to ensure Hines Ward's streak of consecutive games with a reception remained intact.
    But the wide receiver screen has quickly morphed from nothing more than a gimmick in Arians' playbook to a can't-live-without staple of his offense — ever since the emergence of receivers of Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.

    "It is fun to get them the ball and let them do their thing," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.

    Arians hasn't been hesitant in calling the play regardless of the opponent or the situation, mostly because of it's success.

    Through 10 games, Arians has called 31 receiver screens, with Roethlisberger completing all but three of them for an 8.6 yard average per play. The rest of the plays Arians has called this year combined are averaging 5.8 yards.
    "The players are very good at it," Arians said. "They are run-after-the-catch guys, and that's why they are here."

    Arians' infatuation with the play is easily understandable. It's a high-percentage quick throw that gets the ball in the hands of a speedy play-making receiver in space, forcing a cornerback to try to make an open-field tackle.
    It's a perfect recipe for success when you have dynamic receivers like the Steelers'.
    "The good thing about it is that you get the ball out of your hand right now," Roethlisberger said. "You get the ball in the hands of a playmaker right away and usually before defenders can get to them, and you have a couple of blockers out in front."

    The biggest beneficiary has been Wallace, mostly because of how teams have tried to defend his speed — by playing off-coverage.
    Wallace is among the league leaders in yards per catch (17.5) and has six catches of 40 yards or longer, including touchdowns of 81 and 95 yards.

    To combat cornerbacks giving large cushions because of Wallace's speed, Arians has called more screens for him than any other receiver (10).

    "They don't want to give that big play to Mike Wallace over the top," Brown said. "They don't want to come up and press him, fearing he will go right past them."
    Wallace is content with catching a screen and turning it to big yards. He caught a 26-yard screen against Baltimore in Week 1 and a 29-yarder two weeks later in Indianapolis.

    "If people are going to back up, we are going to throw short passes," Wallace said. "We can do that all the time if guys continue to back up."

    The Steelers had their most success against New England when they completed six screens, but it was the week before in Arizona that it helped win the game.
    Trying to run out the clock late against the Cardinals, Arians called run plays on two occasions that were checked out of at the line of scrimmage by Roethlisberger.
    The first one resulted in a 12-yard completion to Brown for a first down, and the second one was an 11-yard pass to Sanders for a game-clinching first down.
    "You are just handing the ball to a receiver out there wide and let him run in space," Arians said. "They go down as passing statistics, but to us, they are really running plays. They are just extended running plays to me. They are long handoffs. A lot of it, I consider the running game."

    However, there has been a downside. Two of Roethlisberger's nine interceptions have come while throwing a wide receiver screen, with both taking place near the red zone.
    Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan intercepted Roethlisberger late in the first half last month, and Baltimore's Terrell Suggs anticipated a quick screen from Roethlisberger and picked off a pass intended for Wallace.

    "It's cool," Wallace said. "We are going to get them more times than they will get us."

  2. #2
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Saying it's a staple in the Steelers offense is like saying the Sky is blue. Arians has a complete love affair with those bubble screen plays.

    While I agree that they are high percentage and keeps the pass rush down by allowing Ben to get rid of the ball early, they run them so often that teams know it's coming and are starting to send linebackers and bring up Safeties to jump those routes. It backfired in the Ravens game and nearly backfired last weekend.

    Where is the blasted Slant pattern? That play is as money as a wide receiver screen is and is a guaranteed first down every time.

  3. #3
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    When was the last time you saw a screen to the RB, wait.. a successful screen to the RB??
    .

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    Veteran connecticutsteel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BR7 View Post
    When was the last time you saw a screen to the RB, wait.. a successful screen to the RB??
    the above comes next season when we get baron back

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    Starter Raleigh Steel's Avatar
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    wouldn't it be nice if we could FAKE the wr screen and then throw back to the other side?
    "Today, I'm officially retiring a Pittsburgh Steeler. And as much as I will miss football, my teammates, coaches and everything about the game, I don't want to play it in any other uniform. The black and gold runs deep in me, and I will remain a Steeler for life."--Hines Ward

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I think Baron would be a great screen back too, it's just too bad he went down with that knee injury. The Steelers don't really have a speedy type of back on the roster. Mewelde is shifty with good feet but he's not going to run away from anyone. If Mendenhall can get going he's got good speed but you like to have that quick, smaller, back to run those types of plays; a Darren Sproles type of player.

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    Starter Goodfrom55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raleigh Steel View Post
    wouldn't it be nice if we could FAKE the wr screen and then throw back to the other side?
    Because there is no drop back whatsoever by Ben, te line has to really hold their ground if they were to try anything like that. Thought about it though.

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    You guys make some great points about this...

    1. Totally agree about Baron Batch. He would have been an excellent 3rd down/screen guy.
    2. Speaking of screens... I've been screaming for years for them, but they aren't coming in the Arians offense so I've stopped. For now.
    3. The play I'd like to see more often OFF the WR Screen is to have AB in the slot with Wallace and Miller on each side of him (Wallace wide). Have Sanders or Cotch on the other side of the formation running a corner route. Wallace would be the screen guy, Miller would come out and block and AB would 'fake block' and then go into a streak. First read is AB after pump fake and then Sanders/Cotch on the back side is 2nd read.


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  9. #9
    LarryNJ's Avatar
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    Through 10 games, Arians has called 31 receiver screens, with Roethlisberger completing all but three of them for an 8.6 yard average per play.
    It's hard to argue with 8.6 yards per play and a 91% completion rate. I'm very surprised it is that high and only 3 per game. It doesn't seem to work that well and they seem to be much more often. I guess it will take the opposition stopping that play before they try the slant.
    "When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."
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