The Bubble Screen is a great way to stretch the defense and get your playmakers the ball in space. We talk about effective ways to run the Bubble Screen in another article, but one important part of running the Bubble Screen is finding effective ways to block the perimeter defense.
Protecting the Bubble Screen-Constraint Plays to Make Sure Your Receivers Can Block
There are a million different ways to block the defensive backs and we will talk about them in a separate article, but we always like to start with one basic idea when we think about blocking for the Bubble, if Wide Receivers were good blockers, they’d probably be playing Tight End. We fully expect our Wide Receivers to block, and they do a great job of buying into the culture of blocking for their teammates, but that is not their best skill. If we are going to ask them to block defenders, we must give them tools and create a system that allows them to accomplish their job.
One of the best things we have found for making Defensive Backs more blockable is to develop constraint plays to slow the defenders down. These constraint plays are based on the idea that if the defense is going to sell out to stop the Bubble, it will open our constraint play.
For the Bubble Screen our top constraint play is our Look Concept. This concept involves the inside receiver running a Bubble route. We want this Bubble to look exactly like our normal Bubble Screens so that the defenders can’t tell the difference. While this receiver is running the Bubble, any receiver that is outside of him is running what we call a Look route. On this route they are going to break directly to a point 1 yard behind the heels of the first defender inside of them. The Look Route, combined with the Bubble Screen, puts the defender in a difficult spot. They see the Bubble Screen and our Receiver is running at them in a way that feels like they are going to be blocked. If they fly down to stop the Bubble, they open the Look Route right behind them. This makes for a very easy read for the Quarterback to get the ball to our Receivers for an easy completion and 5–8-yard gain.
See Also: Bubble and Jail Screen Practice Drill
The added benefit of this play is that now we have put some doubt in the defenders minds. When they see an inside receiver running a Bubble and the outside receiver coming at them they don’t know whether it is a Bubble Screen or our Look Route. This split second of doubt is enough of an advantage to help our Receivers make the block.