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For the coordinators...

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Offensive play calling rules:

1. A screen pass or a draw play will only be called in the following circumstances:
a. The opposing defense has been getting disruptive pass rush in at least the last few plays
1. Unless it is the first play of a drive and you expect them to be coming hard and fast right out of the gate
b. The clock has not stopped for more than a runner going ob
1. Unless you have just received a 5 yard penalty on first or second down, in which case you can run one of those silly WR screens against the right defense
c. Unless you are up by 11 or more points, in which case you can try to make them think you are as stupid as Nathaniel Hackett.

If you have an urge to call a draw or screen on third and 30 because you don't think it is worth risking the sack or interception and just want to scratch out a few yards before punting you had better check that and run a counter trey or sweep of some kind. You will get more yards every time.

2. On fourth and not goal to go with more than 20 seconds left:
a. it is OK to not go for the score. Not required, but OK.
b. Whatever play you call, unless it is a trap run inside with a spread formation on a quick count had better have at least three legitimate ball distribution options not including the QB running.

3. The fade pass into the corner of the end zone?
a. Only if you have Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, or Rob Gronkowski.
b. Never on fourth down.

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  1. Amy's Avatar
    I have to disagree with a lot of these.

    Screens are very useful plays. Not only as a checkdown but as a normal play. The Pats run tons of WR screens for instance. Peyton did too, and Rodgers, just as some examples. Good offenses use them as just a play and as another way to get playmakers the ball.

    If you are a bad offense, or are playing someone who runs them alot, then, I do agree. For instance, the Pats are pretty good at defending the fast WR screen. My guess would be because we see them so often in practice.

    Draw's on 3rd and long are fine. Assuming you plan to punt anyway, if you are not trying for the first, it's the best play. In that case, they tend to net 7 or 8 yards. While a sweep might get more, it also has a better chance to lose yards and a much better chance for a fumble to be 7 for the defense.

    As for the fade to the corner of the endzone, I'd add more WRs to that list. Like: Anontio Brown, OBJ, Dez, just to name three. I think with the endzone fade it's more down and distance. On 4th down, I agree. Go for a more high risk pass that is also more reliable if the route works. On 1 to 3, though, a fade is a safe play. Most endzone fades will either be a TD or incomplete. The play is degined to minizime the chance of interception. That's a key, I think, on any non 4th down endzone pass. Get the TD or another play, reduce the chance of a pick.
  2. ScottDCP's Avatar
    I agree that screens are useful. I just want to limit them to moments when they can be most effective. That tends not to be after the defense has had a chance to gather itself during an extended stoppage, or when they aren't getting upfield at all - the majesty of the screen from the beginning being that three or more defenders take themselves out of the play early. If the pass rushers are sitting on the line of scrimmage it usually gets busted.
  3. ScottDCP's Avatar
    I should add, I don't count the quick throw to the wide receiver as a screen. To my way of thinking a screen is something you throw after letting pass rushers through the line. The quick throw to the receivers is just a quick throw. No deception, just moving blockers out to them when you snap the ball.