All-22 Playbook, Part Three
Part three of the All-22 Playbook focuses on a small niche in the passing game: screens and play action. Both are important tools in the Kubiak offense, so I thought that the following staples were all worth a closer look. Enjoy!
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The bubble screen is a quick-hitting pass play. The goal is to put the ball into the hands of an agile receiver with blockers in front of him so he can take advantage of some open field.
The slot receiver (in this case, Torrey Smith) is going to “bubble” toward the outside after the snap, while the outside receiver is going to block his man. Flacco will take a quick drop (in this case, it was just one step) and get the ball out as fast as possible. The rest is up to the receiver.
The slip screen is designed to punish the secondary for giving wide receivers a big pre-snap cushion. It’s similar to any other screen in that the objective is to get the ball out as fast as possible and give an agile WR some open space to work with.
But the mechanics are slightly different from other screens. Unlike a bubble screen, which can be effective even if a corner is in press coverage (like in the image above), the slip screen is best against soft coverage schemes like Cover 4 (such as in the graphic below).
This particular play is a weakside slip screen. The playside tackle is going to get to the second level and try to block the strong safety, while the playside guard is going to try to reach the second level as well. The WR2 is going to block the corner out of the play, and then the WR1 is going to go for broke.
TE Throwback Screen
The TE Throwback Screen is a play that Gary Kubiak is sure to use in the Ravens offense this year. Since it uses zone blocking, it looks like almost any other running play in the Kubiak system. The defense flows toward what appears to be the playside, and then the QB throws a screen to the backside TE. The playside guard and tackle create a “sidewalk” between the hashes and the numbers for the TE to run on.
I could try to draw up an image that breaks down this play in greater detail, but Chip Kelly does it better than I ever could in the following video. Check it out here. The first minute or so is Kelly describing the TE throwback screen.
The Tunnel Screen is basically what it sounds like – a screen pass where the WR is given a “tunnel” to run through. In the play below, the Texans are running a double tunnel screen against SD. The blue and yellow lines show the blocking scheme, while the red arrows show both outside receivers turning back toward the QB for a screen pass.
Initially, the blocking may look confusing, but it’s pretty simple. At the top of the screen, both blue arrows are creating the tunnel. The outermost blocking WR is going to kick the corner out toward the sideline, and the innermost blocking WR is going to kick the linebacker in toward the middle of the field. The RT (yellow line) is going to be the lead blocker through the tunnel, clearing any blockers he may see.
Basically the same thing is happening at the bottom of the screen. The LG, LT, and slot receiver are going to block, with the tackle and slot receiver creating the tunnel and the guard leading the way through the hole. All Schaub has to do is read the safeties and make a quick throw to one of his two targets.
Play-Action Boot/Naked Boot/Swap Boot
The Play Action Boot is a very popular play in the Kubiak offense. The line zone blocks like any other running play, but – being a play action pass – the QB is going to hold onto the ball. He’ll then roll out of the pocket and hit a receiver while he’s on the move.
Like the Play Action Boot, the Naked Boot simply has the quarterback roll away from his blockers rather than to the same side the line is blocking toward.
Finally, the Swap Boot is run out of a power formation with both a full back and a running back. Pre-snap, the FB will be on the fake play side, i.e. the same side the line is blocking toward. After the snap, however, he will run behind the quarterback to the unblocked side of the field.
A common Kubiak route combo in the Boot Action is called “Flood”. Below, the Ravens are running Swap Boot with a three-level Flood concept. The result is a long first down reception. This should be a staple of the 2014 Ravens offense.