Standard running back screen plays are notoriously hard to execute in Madden 2003. Defensive players tend to not be fooled very easily, and so the running back tends to not get very far after making the catch. I decided that if a slower developing traditional screen could not be made to work (and I have tried, with very limited success) maybe a quicker wide receiver screen would fare better. Bubble screen makes use of Bomber's four bunched wide receivers as a perfect formation for executing a screen pass right at the snap. The rear inside flanker catches the pass while the other three wideouts in front of him block in a bubble shape. The ball carrier picks between the two holes between the blocking receivers or swings wide around the outside, depending on the reaction of the nearest defenders.
Because screen plays are a bit unpredictable I tend to run Bubble Screen mostly on first down. It averages about 3-5 yards for me, so its not a great call on 3rd and long, and on short yardage downs there are usually too many defenders close to the line of scrimmage to block effectively. On any down, if a linebacker blitzes around the right end it spells trouble for the receiver, who probably will not be able to react fast enough after making the catch to evade the tackle, in which case your're looking at a 5 yard loss. Still, if the defense guesses wrong Bubble Screen can be taken to the outside for big gains. 10 yards is not uncommon, and I've taken it the distance at least once.
Besides the primary receiver, the tight end on the left side also runs a quick 5 yard out. It's mainly to keep the defense honest, but like all Bomber plays, there's a chance he will be forgotten. Check whether there are any defensive backs on the outside left side before the snap, and if not quickly look for the TE first before passing to the flanker. Finally, just in case nothing is open right away the flanker who receives the screen pass will, after a delay of one second, break into a kind of swing pattern. This works fairly well because most of the defenders have been drawn down and in at this point.
|QB||Receive Shotgun Snap|
|Front Inside Flanker||Lead Left|
|Rear Inside Flanker||(delay 1 sec)-N2E2-N3E1 (open)|
|Rear Outside Flanker||Lead Left|
|Right SE||Lead Left|
See the Madden Playbook Guide for a description of these symbols.
- Flanker screen
- TE out
- Flanker swing
The play is always intended to go to the flanker on the screen. However, there are two other options. The TE is a good choice if he breaks wide open immediately. If nothing is open right away, look for the flanker to run a backup swing pattern after attempting the screen.
- Pass completion to screen receiver is almost automatic
- TE out pattern can punish defenses that only cover the bunched receivers
- Works almost like a running play without requiring a good run blocking O-line
- An outside LB blitz on the right side may be able to tackle the receiver unblocked
- The Madden 2003 receivers will always turn all the way towards the QB, rather than just turning enough to catch the pass, meaning this play does not execute as quickly as it might in real life
- A bad shotgun snap will pretty much ruin any chance of success for the screen because the ball must be thrown before the defense can react
Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.