More Screens This Year?

July 26th, 2019

More screens in 2019?

Call Joe a simpleton or call Joe hungry for the answer to football riddles. It doesn’t matter.

Joe recently bought Football Outsider’s 2019 Almanac. It is sort of like Warren Sharp’s 2019 Football Preview. It’s a stat-based thing and of all the stat-based outfits out there, Joe trusts the Football Outsiders gang more than any other.

(The Football Outsiders crowd isn’t a slave to stats. If their stats produce something wacky and nonsensical, they are upfront about it. The PFF tribe, for example, will argue to their death their stats are the final say even though some are outright horse feces.)

Now with the start of Bucs training camp practices today, the 2019 season is underway. Joe doesn’t want to dwell too much on the past but here is an element seen in the Almanac that readers here bring up from time to time in the comments. Some fans griped that the Bucs under Dirk Koetter never threw screen passes.

Well, to Joe, “never” is absolute. That means, well, never. But these same readers aren’t exactly wrong. Writing for the Football Outsiders Almanac, jet-flyin’, kiss–stealin‘, data-analyzin’, Bucs-film-studyin’, limousine-ridin’ Thomas Bassinger noted a trend that will send some Bucs fans to holler at their neighbors, “Told ya!”

The Buccaneers threw a league-low 10.1 percent of passes at or behind the line of scrimmage.

And yeah, screen passes are often (though, not always) thrown behind the line of scrimmages.

The Bucs faced nickel defenses 76 percent of the time; couldn’t a screen pass here or there have picked up yards with defenses having an extra guy in the secondary instead of the second level?

Or did Koetter really not trust Ronald Jones?

Of course, Bucco Bruce Arians believes in throwing the ball downfield as much as Koetter did. Maybe more.

30 Responses to “More Screens This Year?”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    Ah, the good ‘ol simple screen pass. A running game’s best friend.
    Q & A time:

    Q: What is the simplest, quickest, most effective way to slow a downhill defense?
    A: A penetrating defense can be quickly drawn upfield and out of a play by luring them downhill and making quick throws to the outside where defenders have vacated.

    Want to help cure a woeful rushing attack? Keep the defense honest by throwing timely screens on obvious running downs. Simple yet, for some reason, this team has been allergic to them!

  2. Bird Says:

    Why not? Screens are effective.

    Not to RoJo cause he has terrible hands which doesn’t seem possible in this day and age. Seriously , if you have dreams to be an NFL player and realize you may have that reality come true in high school /college wouldn’t you work on your hands all day – everyday? Not saying they have to be great. Just better then average. Better then RoJo s

    That’s one of the things that irritates me about this pick a year ago.

    Again , hope this kid realizes that he is in the nfl and it’s time to put on his big boy pants.

  3. BucEmUp Says:

    Glad Joe pointed this out. Arians loved hitting David Johnson in the passing game. Defenses knew we didnt use the rbs in the passing they consistently stacked the front line. Especially whem Jones came in because everyone knew he wasnt trusted with pass blocking or catching..That play alone is the bread and butter of so many teams.

    Bird, watch Rojo catch passes this season. Watch what real coaching will do to all the “Busts” that have been hand picked and drafted by (Lovie, Dirk and Smitty) Jason Licht.

  4. Bird Says:

    Buc em up

    He’s young so no question his window still wide open. I hope you are right . And He didn’t get a fair shot last year.

    My point was more of everything he has done up to this point
    Catching a screen pass is pretty basic stuff. It seemed complicating to him last year and apparently he never caught balls in college for whatever reason ?

    I could catch a ten yard Screen pass without hands. It’s like hitting a softball pitch compared to faster baseball pitch that’s moving different directions.
    I mean My sister can catch a screen pass.

    Time for him to take his opportunity seriously. Can’t play scared.

  5. Hodad Says:

    We know how well screen passes work because we’ve watched them work against us for the last three years! We could see Kamara, or McCaffery making our defense look helpless with it last year.

  6. jjbucfan Says:

    Yep- basic football, Dirk Koetter was trying to get fired (IMO) and stubborn Glazers wouldn’t budge and the fans suffered. We couldn’t block for crap and Dirks response was to send 4 deep. Limited dress, limited screens and predictable play calling Dirks recipe for success. RoJo will drop passes this year, so will everyone else. I hope Jameis and Arians go right back to him. DK benched him for 10 games.

  7. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Well it is time for Jameis to sheet or get of the pot ….

  8. jjbucfan Says:

    ^^limited draws^^

  9. Waterboy Says:

    Throw screens to who?

  10. dmatt Says:

    Koetter did a very poor job of coaching RoJo. Why draft a 21 yr old kid n not prepare him to succeed in this league. He should have surrounded him with players to encourage him when he make a mistake n coaches that can work with him one on one to address n fix his catching problems. Great coaches address n fix concerning issues i.e, Tiki Barbers fumbling issues addressed by Coughlin n fixed by assigned coaches. Everything said about RoJo has been negative. Give the kid a chance n the right coach n problem is fixed. BA has inherited a team that has been a product of poor coaching over the last 10-11 yrs. Our missing puzzle has been found. Watch BA n coaches go to work. Do Jo the redeemer.

  11. sarasota garey Says:

    I got a fever, and the only prescription is more screen.

  12. BucEmUp Says:

    Bird, Yep exactly. Its such an easy thing to do, an olineman could catch a screen pass. I blame the teams poor record 100%on coaching which is why I expect.a 100% increase with wins.

  13. sarasota garey Says:

    I have a fever, and the only prescription is more screen.

  14. Ndog Says:

    I wonder if throwing more passes to running backs in the form of screens would help the QBs at all? I mean come on people do these people have to repeat what I have been saying and that has been obvious every day for you NOW to get it? One fun thing to do is go look at our highlights from the last few years and look at the down and distance before each snap. It very often is 2nd and 16 or 2nd and 14 or 3rd and 11 and we still were successful quite often. Now imagine if we had a coach that did not put us in predictable situations over and over. Man this offense can be something we some one who a actually understands how to win games and have a complete offense.

  15. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Screens only work after establishing a down field threat….

  16. Pittsshore Says:

    Screens don’t work for a QB that throws it high and hard until he settles down in the second half. Opposing team LB picks will go up substantially if we throw screens early and often.

  17. BigHog Says:

    A higher completion rate for FAMOUS is on the way!!GO BUCS GO FAMOUS BRING THE NOISE!!!

  18. Cobraboy Says:

    Koetter was all about a vertical passing game, nothing else.

  19. 813bucboi Says:

    dirk sucks!!!!!!…told ya!!!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  20. AwShbucs Says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that we virtually stopped using the screen after Lovie was fired?

    Koetter is stuck in the 1970s Sid Gilman/ Air Coryell mindset.

    Anyone else find it absolutely astounding that the most balanced offensive attack we’ve fielded in the last 10 years was one essentially mandated by Lovie Smith?

  21. Pittsshore Says:

    Funny how all you clowns hate on Dirk after he is gone but in the same token embraced him when his was announced as OC and then again as head coach. You all saw what he did with the intelligent Matt Ryan prior to coming to Tampa and were disillusioned in thinking he would do the same with America’s Ignorant, narcissistic, womanizing, homophobic, shoplifting Quarterback. The reminder of Dirks abilities will be front and center with the a real QB running his offense. Bucs 3-13, JW benched by week 6, Tua will be our first round pick next year. Side note: The D will be drastically improved and JW will still turn the ball over and we will still lose. Watch the clowns blame the GM next.

  22. 813bucboi Says:


    folks know…..but they’ll never admit it…..they ran lovie outta town thinking that the grass was greener on the other side…..

    turns out it was nothing but dirk & dirt….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  23. 813bucboi Says:


    matty ice and freeman’s career hit an all time high when dirk and smitty got send packing….lol….

    but i guess you missed them playing in the SB without dirk…..

    i was never in dirk’s corner….i knew at the time of his hire he was in over his head and not fit to be an HC…..i gave him the few props he deserved in 2016 but even during that season he embarrassed himself…..

    he is who some thought he was….an average OC….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  24. BucEmUp Says:

    Piytshore Dirk was a good oc and yes I wanted him to get the job..I also said the DAY HE HIRED MIKE SMITH that it would be a mistake that cost everyone their jobs and the defense would be the death of his head coaching career . Koetter gave up onve his bff let him down. I thought he was smarter than to hire smitty and I was wrong.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Just a gut feel, but I have a hunch that there’s not a single OC in the NFL would wouldn’t love to have a super-talented QB, RBs, WRs, TEs all supported to a strong OLine to just ‘impose their will on their opponents’. You know, the old ‘here’s what we’re gonna do, and we dare you to stop us’.

    Very few, if any, OCs have that level of talent to work with, and the Bucs surely don’t. Thus little things like keeping the opponent off-balance by being unpredictable take on greater importance. Screens are a nice part of the offensive repertoire, as are deep passes, outside runs, etc, but they’re not ‘bread-and-butter plays’ IMO. Their big advantage occurs when they’re used when least expected (kinda the meaning of the word ‘unpredictable’?).

    The Bucs need to have certain ‘bread-and-butter plays’ that basically set up things like screen plays, deep passes, outside runs, etc. Didn’t we used to have some coach who always preached on how vital it was to ‘Pound the Rock’? Short & intermediate passes (like slants, etc) fall into that same category … ‘bread-and-butter plays’. Keeping the opponent off-balance … offensively AND defensively … is the name of the game IMO. And that starts by being able to play sound fundamental offense AND defense. HOPEFULLY that’s what we see this year under BA & company.

  26. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I have seen examples of either missing blocks or not setting Screens up properly.
    Since screens and dumpoffs were a big part of our offense
    in 2015 I suspect some of the screen issues were the loss of talent on O line.
    IMO, no back could run the screen pass out of the backfield as well as Charles Sims. Martin and Rogers
    seemed to be used more for dumpoff and bubble screens.

  27. Phil Says:

    Jameis likes to push the ball down the field.

  28. Jim Says:

    To the “My sister can catch a screen” crowd, have her immediately get smashed by a 230 lb. NFL linebacker. Then ask her to catch another…

  29. Buccaroo Says:

    Wait till Arians gets a good look at Bruce Anderson’s prowess in the passing game. I have a sneaky feeling BA will institute more screens and seam routes just to take advantage of Anderson’s uncanny receiving abilities.
    Anderson = Kamara

  30. gilhealy Says:

    I think you’re right, Buccaroo. That cat can play.