FanPost

The Screen Pass and Matt Ryan


If studying for the LSAT has taught me anything (other than the fact that I always manage to choose the wrong answer when guessing), it's the logic of Sufficient-Necessary conditions. The most simple Sufficient-Necessary conditions use the "if-then" format. So, IF we have "A", THEN we know that "B" must follow. For example; IF Mike Mularkey is your Offensive Coordinator, THEN your offense will never run a screen pass. That's valid, correct?

Over Matt Ryan's career as an Atlanta Falcon, his ability to throw the deep ball has frequently been criticized. While this criticism is fair, too many people automatically point to Ryan's lack of mobility and arm strength as the apparent cause for the discrepancy. However, the Falcons offense under Mike Mularkey never really gave Matt Ryan the support and strategy he needed in order to transform into Matty-Ice and start throwing bombs all over the field. Instead, Mularkey helped transform Matty-Ice into Matty-Lite. Let's face it, Mike Mularkey's offense was boring, dreadful, and predictable. Every drive seemed to live or die on the ability of Michael Turner to bust open the defense in order to get Ryan more reasonable windows to complete passes. This philosophy may work in high school and college, but this is the National Football League.

2012 will be the year of Dirk Koetter, and because of this, it will also be the year of the screen pass. Ah, the screen pass; an aggressive defense's worst enemy, and Matt Ryan's best ally. Screen passes are different than your typical short-yardage pass route. Developing behind the line of scrimmage, screen passes create mismatches for the entire defense and can knock a whole unit off its equilibrium. While slant routes and 5 yard hooks lead to the secondary tightening up their coverage, they also lead to more aggression, which can cause the the pocket to quickly become non-existent for a QB. Yet, screen passes cause all 11 players on defense to take notice, leading to mass paranoia on the opponent's side of the ball. The screen pass will inevitably open up opportunities for Jones, White, Gonzo, and Douglas to get loose from DB's that are trying to determine whether to press coverage or play normal distance.

Returning to my Law lesson above, I have formulated this condition: IF the Falcons run screen plays, THEN Matt Ryan throws the deep ball. Ryan undoubtedly has the arm strength and ability to complete multiple passes of 15+ yards, but the former offense never gave him the leverage and support for those long-range pass windows to open. When Matt was throwing bombs, they were under enormous pressure or the receivers didn't have much opportunity to get away from the defenders. Koetter utilizing the screen pass can potentially eliminate both of these problems. The rest is up to Matt Ryan.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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