Double Screens: Reading 2nd Level Defenders

What are Double Screens?

Double Screens are an excellent HIGH % "Screen" that will give you options. In this blog post we will look at the "TWO SIDED" screen while the QB is reading a 2nd Level linebacker. Some Double Screens read a "defensive end" to determine where the ball will go.

Why are they so effective?

Double Screens are very effective if taught correctly and game planned the right way. The key is deciding if you are going to "read" the defensive end or "2nd Level LB". Getting the ball on the perimeter to your RB (one of your best players) is always a good thing. The blocking on the perimeter must be executed.

This play has answers based on how the "defense" reacts to you.

"Quick Side" of Screen

The "Quick Side" or primary read side is where the QB will start his read. We will examine "reading" a 2nd Level linebacker.

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"Slow Side" of Screen

The "Slow Side" is the backside of the play. If the ball does not go front side (Quick) then the ball will come back to the "tunnel screen" being formed by the backside element.

Quick side to the field and Slow side to the boundary

"Slow Side" of Screen

The offensive line blocks "BIG ON BIG" but on the "slow side" they set to their assignment:

BS Tackle- Blocks DE

BS Guard- Set to DT and get out to perimeter (2-1000 count)

Center- Set to "A" gap defender and get out to perimeter (2-1000 count)

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This screen can be utilized by 2x2 or 3x1 formations.

QB Read

The QB will determine pre-snap who he reads. In most cases it will be the "Mike" linebacker.

1. If "MIke" does not move enough to make play on RB then the ball goes to RB. (3 Quick Footwork)

2. If "Mike" moves with the RB then QB will retreat and throw to "Slow" side of screen. (3 Quick + Retreat)

***Must be aware of "Peeling" defensive ends

QB Reads the "Mike LB"

This is a very easy read for the QB. During his initial drop he "keys" the Mike LB for movement. If the "Mike" cannot make play on RB then ball goes to RB. 3 Quick footwork.

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QB Reads the "Mike LB" taking RB away

If the QB thinks the "Mike" can take the RB away, he should now move to the slow side.

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Keys to Play

1. Offensive Line protects "Big on Big" except when releasing to slow side.

2. Excellent perimeter blocking by wide receivers. (Quick Side)

3. Formation of the "Run Way" for slow side.


Blocking on the perimeter is a "must" and it must be worked on and developed by your WR Coach. There must be a complete commitment from Wide Receiver group.

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