The Improving Screen Game

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 11: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets rushes for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Connor Orr talks about how the Jets have become more effective in the screen game this year.

In preseason, seeking to improve life in the pocket for Mark Sanchez, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh emphasized the screen in training camp with repeated drills and film study. The aim was clear: Design a strategy to deter overzealous pass-rushers.

The offensive linemen worked on intricate timing, holding their blocks until the ideal moment when they could let their defenders run free and start blocking upfield. The backs focused on setting up their run after the catch, positioning behind linemen against the remaining defenders who weren’t already suckered in.

The screen has resulted in some huge plays as Orr notes. I think one of the reasons is Shonn Greene's hands have gotten softer as the year has gone by. He has turned into a more complete back so it is starting to look like the Jets have two backs they can throw the football to. They no longer telegraph a pass by putting Tomlinson in on most throws. They probably should have been even more effective in the screen game, but Mark Sanchez has been off target on some easy passes.

Against a pair of pass rushers who get up the field quickly like Jason Babin and Trent Cole, the Jets will probably look to utilize the screen plenty tomorrow.

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