I was up late today, being lazy... Making my rounds of all-things-football when I read what Pat had to say on ESPN.com. He pointed out that the Atlanta Falcons did not just end up last in screen yards last year, but the last TWO SEASONS. Maybe some of ya'll knew that... Maybe, like me, you just thought it was this last year. In any case this got my wheels turning. I don't know if anyone else has already brought this up or not but I can't remember reading it, nor thinking of it myself. Other teams in the NFL were not afraid to blitz the Falcons... Think about that statement again. The 13 teams that we played for the last two years were not afraid of pinning their ears back and getting after Matt Ryan. A team that sends extra guys on the rush, or just their standard four-man pass rush set; what is their worst nightmare? The screen game... Ya'll know what I mean. Imagine if you will we are playing the New York Giants, or the Detroit Lions (I pick these teams because I believe they might have some of the best D-Lines, especially in a 4-3 set;and we played both of them last year.) Guys like Suh, Fairly, Vanden Bosch, Avril, JPP, Kiwanuka, Umenyiora all hang their hat on getting after the QB. Some are most prolific at just blowing up the entire OL (Suh). But if these guys are not worried about the Screen game then they will pin their ears back and rush the QB like theres no tomorrow. Both of these squads, I believe, have good (Lions) to great (Giants) gap integrity so draws will not open up the passing game as one would hope. But drop a pass 4 yards past linemen that have been in your face all day, and you'll make them honor the screen game which could slow them a step or two in order to get more deep routes.
Anyway, this is just my idea. But Vishnu if you read this, I'd like to see how much teams on average "blitzed" the Falcons (sending 5+ guys, or had their pass rush specialists in, like the Giants' "Nascar" set). I am also of the mind that many people are worried we will over-use the screen, but I think Koetter will be smart enough, and Mike Smith too conservative to let that happen. I hope anyway.