OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- As the new offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, Gary Kubiak is envisioning shorter passes, quicker releases from his quarterbacks and a play that has been used infrequently in team history.
"I was telling John [Harbaugh] the other night: ‘You know, I think we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good screen team,'" Kubiak said. "Our guards not only are big and physical, but they can get out and run."
Screen passes can be an effective weapon. It's a high-percentage short pass to a running back that can generate yards if the offense gets downfield blocking and the defense is caught blitzing.
But the Ravens have rarely called this play, throwing 123 screen passes since 2001 -- the fourth fewest in the NFL over that span. Only the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have called it fewer times.
Kubiak feels that can change this season with left guard Kelechi Osemele and right guard Marshal Yanda. They're two of the most physical guards in the league, but they have athleticism for their size. For a screen pass to work, offensive linemen have to run and get in front of the running back in the flat.
It's interesting to note that Kubiak isn't known for using the screen pass often. During Kubiak's eight seasons in Houston, the Texans had 163 screen passes, which ranked 20th in the NFL.