Looking for a safe 3rd and Long play, an easy completion to boost your QB’s confidence, or just want to get your best player the ball in space? If so, the shallow screen is a great play to have in the arsenal. I have seen this route more and more the last 2 years so I figured I would break it down.
In this first clip, TCU is 1st and 10 and backed up. They line up in an Ace Slot Formation with the Tight End and Wideout to the boundary and twins to the field. The Z to the boundary runs a drive route but runs it at the line of scrimmage so the WR’s on the other side can block downfield. The wideout to the field takes the corner, the slot blocks the overhand and the RB releases from the backfield to block the inside linebacker. The QB has his eyes downfield and to get the defense to drop and then throws it to his receiver running the drive. The receiver catches the ball on the run with blockers in front of him to get an easy 16 yards.
The next clip has is less successful as SMU calls it on a 3rd and long situation. They execute it from a normal trips set where #1 blocks the corner, #2 blocks the apex overhang, #3 blocks the LB inside of him and then the RB release to block the safety or double with #2. The X runs the drive and QB hits him as he crosses the centerline. In this clip there is some confusion to who is blocking the overhand which allows the defense to get the stop on 3rd down. Even though the play is unsuccessful, the odds were against the offense converting so this was a safe throw with the opportunity to convert. Much better odds of converting your 3rd downs with a play like this to an explosive receiver then trying to force the ball in traffic on 3rd Down or sit in the pocket risking a sack.
This is a great screen play because it’s hard for the defense to recognize it as it looks like a normal drop back pass play. Like I said this is a great high percentage play that can be used in several different situations and really takes minimal teaching to install. Screens are typically time consuming because of going through all the blocking scenarios with the offensive line but with this slow screen the learning is all on the skill players.