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Hapless Bills Fan

The Mystery of the Missing Screen Plays

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Sooooooo.....on several threads, a recurring theme has popped up:

 

Where are the screen plays? 

 

Screen plays are a great solution to a number of football chess moves, including Blitz0.  Our defense proved very susceptible to them in the 2nd NE game. [Edit: to clarify, these are intended as separate observations, not an implication we were susceptible due to playing Blitz0 on D]

 

I've searched for data on # of screen plays the Bills ran overall and in each game, and I'm coming up blank.  Some recall "a lot of screens" earlier in the season that didn't work, so Daboll phased them out.  I found a Mark Gaughan TBN article which states that the Bills completed "only five screen plays to RBs in the first 7 games" and then one in the Redskins game....but that doesn't say how many they attempted

 

Anyone got some data?

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No clue. But I will say if seemed we sucked at setting them up and it made it even more irritating having to watch our top 5 defense get gashed by them routinely while wondering why in the world our offense couldn’t seem to crack the code. 

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I got nothin’ but I look forward to some insight. This seemed like the right thing so many times, and it either didn’t happen or it didn’t work. How hard could this be to get right? 

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1 minute ago, Augie said:

I got nothin’ but I look forward to some insight. This seemed like the right thing so many times, and it either didn’t happen or it didn’t work. How hard could this be to get right? 

Right. You would have thought a couple of well timed screens would have cooled off the excessive blitzing in the NE and BALT games. 

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I thought from the title that this link was a Hollywood story about a writer having his work stolen, and maybe someone substituting their screen plays for his.

 

That seems to happen more often than the Bills running a screen play.

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17 minutes ago, Stank_Nasty said:

No clue. But I will say if seemed we sucked at setting them up and it made it even more irritating having to watch our top 5 defense get gashed by them routinely while wondering why in the world our offense couldn’t seem to crack the code. 

 

I Share Your Pain

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We haven’t been good at screens for like the last 10 years. I used to think it was because we had more road grading linemen than quicker nimbler guys. But that’s not really the case anymore. 
 

it can’t be that hard to run them.

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I recall nearly every single screen we attempted being immediately diagnosed and snuffed out. 

 

Can think off maybe three or four that worked.

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32 minutes ago, Stank_Nasty said:

having to watch our top 5 defense get gashed by them routinely while wondering why in the world our offense couldn’t seem to crack the code. 

Well, they obviously never practiced against a decently run screen.

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Man to man defense makes screen plays more difficult. Until we have deep threats and better TE play, teams will keep playing man to man and forcing Josh and the receivers to throw into tight windows. The linebackers don't need to double the tight ends so they can just track the running back. 

Fix the deep threat, let Knox develop, and they should be better.

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I had read that defenses were more aware of Allen's running ability and that also helped them diagnose screens easier.

 

No doubt our lack of execution was a big part of the problem too. 

 

 

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with allen being a mobile qb the defense protects the edges so screen passes are a little too risky from what i've been told

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Maybe Someday said:

I had read that defenses were more aware of Allen's running ability and that also helped them diagnose screens easier.

 

No doubt our lack of execution was a big part of the problem too. 

 

 

The lack of execution is probably the biggest thing that stuck out to me. 
I remember a couple attempts where Allen just totally ruined the rhythm of the play and tossed it out so fast. Couple other attempts with the opposing defenses having it sniffed out almost immediately. 
I also seem to remember them trying 1-2 for Knox where he lined up on the left, motioned right and it was meant to be a screen that ended ugly. 
I could be wrong but I feel like the only successful one we got was for singletary and  was a huge gain in the Houston game but my god was it an ugly setup for it. 

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Singletary got something like 42 yards on one in the last six games. It is the only one I remember.

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Giants Game, 14:20 of 2nd Q. Screen attempt to Knox. Watch it and weep. Four lineman and Knox against 2 defenders yet run so badly that the play was dead from the git go. Pretty odd screen design that resulted in the lineman being behind the target rather than in front. Josh had no choice but to fire it into the dirt. No idea if Knox ran the wrong route or if the lineman didn't have a clue what they were doing. It's possible Knox was supposed to run in the flat and have the linemen fire out at an angle to just get there in time to make a block. They did that for a short gain earlier in the game to Singletary. If that was the case, its not really a screen, just a short pass designed to get some beef out there to help the receiver get some yac.

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1 hour ago, Rc2catch said:

The lack of execution is probably the biggest thing that stuck out to me. 
I remember a couple attempts where Allen just totally ruined the rhythm of the play and tossed it out so fast. Couple other attempts with the opposing defenses having it sniffed out almost immediately. 
I also seem to remember them trying 1-2 for Knox where he lined up on the left, motioned right and it was meant to be a screen that ended ugly. 
I could be wrong but I feel like the only successful one we got was for singletary and  was a huge gain in the Houston game but my god was it an ugly setup for it. 

 

There was a screen play in the Washington game that went for big yards

 

That's kind of what I'm asking for, is any hard data on how often we've tried to run screens and what the outcomes were, because sometimes perceptions don't line up with what actually happened (eg some people feel we run RPO all the time but turns out it really wasn't that often)

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Good idea making a thread for this, hopefully someone will have some good information. Perhaps we need to contact one of the All-22 guys about it. I searched on their site for about 40 minutes & couldnt find much, but someone like that would have to have something to say about it i'd think.

Its hard to find good info on it & when theres a possible source its behind a paywall. But in my digging i see its been an issue with Allen going back to Wyoming.

Theres the remark from Mel Kiper back around the Draft while comparing all those QB's & talking about Allens accuracy numbers being less than 60%. And Mel said if he was throwing more screen passes & easy throws like that, his % would easily be over 60%. But while digging up info on it I see those passes were a problem for him back then too, so perhaps thats why their OC didn't call them as much either.

 

An excerpt from the editor of Star Tribune, the newspaper from Wyoming: “Like, we saw this Pat Mahomes last year with similar ability to make incredible sort of trick-shot throws, and you’ll see that with Allen, where you’ll be like, ‘Oh my god. There’s not five other human beings on planet Earth that could have done that,’ and maybe there’s even less. But he’ll do that, and a play or two later, it’ll be a screen pass, and Allen will just kind of turn to his left and fire an absolute 100 mile per hour fastball when he just should have been throwing a little lollipop and getting it to his running back.”

Time after time thats the issue. Where his fastball will get to the RB before the blockers do to setup the play downfield so it looks like the blockers aren't in their correct position. Theres multiple video clips from google & twitter showing this from him or from preseason reporters watching him in practice. The ball just sails. Later in the year i mentioned in that other thread how i saw Allen overcompensate for this by going 180 degrees the other direction. Meaning floating the ball higher in the air where it seemed it took 10 seconds for the ball to arrive. Its like his arm is a loaded shotgun all the time & if you ask him to throw it gently he ends up forcing it somehow, being mindful that he needs to adjust & it throws everything it off.

 

I don't think you want your QB to be overthinking his mechanics or throwing motion in the middle of a throw, you want it to be natural & just get there. So I think its something that can be worked on & must be worked on. Theres interviews with Daboll talking about the need to get Josh more completions with the short stuff. "Easy" throws that help get him in a rhythm. The season before, Allen averaged 10 completions per game within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage while the NFL average as a whole was over 16 completions a game on passes of that distance. Last year was the year they were supposedly gonna work on that but i still didnt see enough of them... at all.

 

Aside from screen plays. We should have at a minimum of 5-6 set throwing plays with Beasley, dedicated plays thruout every game. Easy layups if you will to get Cole going & Allen in that rhythm once again. Kinda like how Brady would do with Edelman. 5 to 6 at a minimum.

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They were awful in the execution. Having wide receivers that can block it up effectively was a major problem. The timing of the o-line throughout the season was erratic regardless of the play call. If McD really is a student of Reid, then the screen game needs to become a priority this offseason. They need to sprinkle in more no huddle throughout the games also. With 9 new starters on offense, it was a surprise to me that they were as effective as they were with JA who was only in his second year. I anticipate next season being another step forward in the development of their identity. 

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24 minutes ago, Reality Check said:

They were awful in the execution. Having wide receivers that can block it up effectively was a major problem. The timing of the o-line throughout the season was erratic regardless of the play call. If McD really is a student of Reid, then the screen game needs to become a priority this offseason. They need to sprinkle in more no huddle throughout the games also. With 9 new starters on offense, it was a surprise to me that they were as effective as they were with JA who was only in his second year. I anticipate next season being another step forward in the development of their identity. 

Yeah, Andy has made a living off of screens for years and years. You’d think we would see more wheel routes too. Brees kills it with those.

 

I mean, the frustrating part of the offense when I watch is that there are no easy throws for Allen. The short stuff has guys draped over his receiver and in the intermediate range they get open by 1-2 yards. I feel like when I watch other teams guys are wide open by 6-8 yards. I don’t know what the Bills are doing to make the passing game so hard. Lack of screen AND lack of deep ball success?

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Daboll is, at best, a mediocre play designer.  People blame his play-calling typically when criticizing him, but his basic plays are straightforward to diagnose and defend.    When the Bills defense gets beat on a pass play, it is not because of some superior throws into a tight window, its because the receivers are wide open.  Poor play design is the reason the Bills abandoned the ineffective screen plays, and the reason we have fewer wide-open receivers than other teams.

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11 hours ago, Stank_Nasty said:

No clue. But I will say if seemed we sucked at setting them up and it made it even more irritating having to watch our top 5 defense get gashed by them routinely while wondering why in the world our offense couldn’t seem to crack the code. 

 

My feelings exactly.

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11 hours ago, billsintaiwan said:

I recall nearly every single screen we attempted being immediately diagnosed and snuffed out. 

 

Can think off maybe three or four that worked.

 

I've submitted countless snuff screenplays.  All rejected. 
 

Seems no one wants to see that stuff anymore...

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9 hours ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

There was a screen play in the Washington game that went for big yards

 

That's kind of what I'm asking for, is any hard data on how often we've tried to run screens and what the outcomes were, because sometimes perceptions don't line up with what actually happened (eg some people feel we run RPO all the time but turns out it really wasn't that often)

I sadly can’t find that info either. Would be useful info for sure. 
 

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