Jailbreak Screen In The Spread Offense

Jailbreak Screen
One of my favorite plays in the spread offense is the Jailbreak Screen.  It is an integral part of the offensive system that we run.  To me, there is never a bad time to call this play.  I believe the Jailbreak Screen is indicative of what the spread offense is all about;  getting the ball into your athletes hands out in space with room to make a play after the catch.  Diagrammed below is one variation of how we run the Jailbreak Screen.


The first coaching point is that the receiver inside of the receiver catching the football is responsible for blocking the defender over the player catching the football.  I coach our receiver catching the football to take a step or two up field and then run down the line.  The play side offensive tackle should pass set and block the defensive end.  The remaining offensive lineman pass set for a count to invite the pass rush up field before releasing.  The quarterback needs to find a lane to throw the football.  If you are playing a team with an aggressive pass rush or a blitz-oriented team, this ball obviously gets out a little quicker.  There have been instances where our quarterback has had more time and we make this throw more in the middle of the field. This throw is usually in the window “behind” the defensive end that is being taken up field by the pass setting offensive tackle.  The quarterback needs to “feel” when the throw needs to be made.  Ideally, this ball is out of the quarterbacks hands quickly.
We don’t have any specific rules for the offensive lineman that are releasing downfield.  We tell them that they need to be athletes and get a hat on somebody and our skill guys will do what they are good at.  Through practice, your offensive line will get very good at releasing downfield and picking up people in different areas of the field.
In my mind, one of the most beneficial aspects to the Jailbreak Screen is the versatility it has.  We will throw this to any and all of our receivers.  Below is a diagram of our Jailbreak Screen when we throw it to our middle receiver in a Trips Set.  The same rules apply as above.
The Jailbreak Screen is simple to teach and easy to install.  The only rule that we have is if we are in a 2 x 2 set and we throw it to a slot receiver, the play side guard is now responsible for blocking the defender over the receiver catching the football.  I have this scenario drawn below.
In closing, I believe the Jailbreak Screen is one of the most effective plays in football.  It’s a simple throw and an easy way to get the ball into the hands of your best playmakers.  Also, it’s very easy to teach and install and I believe if you run or are installing the spread offense, this should be considered one of your base plays.  I believe there is no better way to slow down a pass rush or stop a team from blitzing than this play.  When executed, this play can hit for big yardage every time.
Please email me your comments, questions or concerns at: Chris Meyers,  [email protected]

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