Lions Understand How To Protect Screens

By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 17, 2023
FirstDown PlayBook All 22 Tuesday

One of the hardest things to teach as an offensive line coach are screens. You have a lot of uphill battles staring at you. You are asking 300 pound humans to leave their comfort zone and go play in space against quicker, nimbler athletes. This is just one of several reasons we were so impressed with this slip screen the Detroit Lions executed against Tampa Bay Bucs on Sunday. Let’s spend an All 22 Tuesday looking at it.

A second thing that was obvious was that the Lions understand that your protection and protection technique are critical on screens. We can’t tell you how many times we saw holding called on screens this weekend. Think about that for a second. How does an offensive lineman at the NFL or college level hold on a play designed to allow the defensive linemen to rush upfield?

We also saw linemen five to eight yards down the field when the screen was thrown as huge gains were wiped out because of it. Screens are generally hit or miss plays but when they hit for 30 or 40 yards only to be called back, that is devastating to an offense.

We Have Seen The Lions Be Great At Screens Before On All 22 Tuesday

So back to the Detroit Lions. When we saw this play what we saw was great execution and great timing. For starters the Lions understand that if you are going to throw a slip screen or slow screen off of this play action, your quarterback is going to set up somewhere behind the Tight End area. This is why they got their second Tight End in motion to help out.

Anyone who has coached in the NFL knows to not put a Tight End one on one inn this situation. This allowed Jared Goff enough time to throw the ball back to the screen side with the accuracy needed. After that the timing was nearly perfect.

Give Your Offensive Line landmarks On Open Field Screen Plays

Bear in mind that all screens unfold differently. The defense will react differently to what they see and what they have been taught. This is why it is important to have landmarks for your offensive line and the receiver. You will notice that the back catches the ball on the bottom of the numbers. After the catch he runs straight up the numbers. This way the big guys know where to block with out looking for the ball.

Speaking of blocking. Anyone who is watching the Detroit Lions this year is seeing aggressive blocking from everyone, not just the offensive line. The Lions receivers and tight ends block their rear ends off and it shows up on tape. Just one more reason that they are off to a 5-1 start this year and are our All 22 Tuesday featured play this week.


All 22 Tuesday Lions Slip Screen
Jim Hamilton