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Old 11-21-2011, 06:45 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

By Mark Kaboly
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, November 21, 2011

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."

Mark Kaboly can be reached at mkaboly@dailynewsemail.com or 412-664-9161.

Read more: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbur...#ixzz1eL6hywLS
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

First the Arians article and now an article justifying screen passes!! WTF Screens worked great vs Baltimore
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

How about a fake screen to Wallace and send him deep?
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

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Originally Posted by #1LambertFan View Post
How about a fake screen to Wallace and send him deep?
You just made Arians head hurt. Too much info to process there.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

can't see the forest from the trees
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

Every now and then the quick screen to Wallace works, but that's not even as much of a screen as it is a quick pass due to an obvious cushion. The screens though that we are used to seeing, usually out of a bunched 3 receiver set thrown to our slowest receiver, are absolute garbage. It's troubling how the players actually agree with these calls, and as mentioned in another thread, talked Arians into coming back. I don't get it, they are professional's, maybe they are seeing something we are not, but they definetly aren't fooling anybody with the garbage, just ask Suggs.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

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It's troubling how the players actually agree with these calls, and as mentioned in another thread, talked Arians into coming back. I don't get it, they are professional's, maybe they are seeing something we are not, but they definetly aren't fooling anybody with the garbage, just ask Suggs.
Ben called the one Suggs picked in a no huddle situation, not Arians. But of course, around these parts that doesn't matter a whit.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

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Ben called the one Suggs picked in a no huddle situation, not Arians. But of course, around these parts that doesn't matter a whit.
It matters a lot, the very quote your using from my reply is "It's troubling how the players actually agree with these calls". How did you miss that? I know it was Ben who called it, which scares me more than Bruce calling it.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

We run screen plays? Since when?
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' screens test defenses' mettle

well hopefully the pain will subside enough that Ben won't have to be in the shotgun or pistol formation too too much - which is what is happening right now in practice according to nfl.com He is saying it is still very painful.
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