Atlanta and the Screen Game

Dirk Koetter's screen game is a welcome addition to Atlanta's offense.

Dirk Koetter’s screen game is a welcome addition to Atlanta’s offense.

One of the main reasons the Atlanta Falcons hired offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was his usage of the screen game. Former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who is now the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, rarely used the screen pass during his tenure in Atlanta.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Matt Ryan completed 62 of 69 screen passes for 495 yards and a league-high six touchdowns.

Last season, the quarterback completed 16 screen passes for a paltry 68 yards with no touchdowns. In fact, the last time Ryan threw a touchdown on a screen pass was in 2009.

As it stands now, the screen game is essentially an extension of the run game.

Mularkey’s aversion to implementing the screen game was a bit confusing; when you have several players – Harry Douglas, Julio Jones, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Roddy White – who can make moves in space and get up field quickly, why would you not take advantage of that and put the ball in their hands?

Luckily, Koetter will be in Atlanta for at least two more years.

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