When playing zone pass coverage, the reaction of the linebackers to a draw or screen pass will be different in that they must first concentrate on moving to their assigned zones rather than focus on one offensive player.
The linebacker will likely be moving away from the line of scrimmage when he recognizes that the offense is running a draw or screen pass play. An inside linebacker can help defeat the draw play if he backpedals for the first few steps until the quarterback is past the running back and not in position to hand him the ball. With this technique, the linebacker can keep his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and quickly come up if he sees the draw play being run.
To react to the screen pass from zone pass coverage, the linebacker usually has to avoid the offensive blocker coming from the inside. Because of his depth off the line, the linebacker will not normally reach the running back until after the back has made the reception.
When the linebacker has a defensive back in the zone to his outside, he should go to the inside of the lead blocker, taking a path between the offensive tackle and guard or guard and center (figure 8.17a).
When the linebacker is assigned to the outside zone on the side of the screen pass, he must stay outside the first blocker and make certain that the running back is forced to the inside of the field toward the other defensive players (figure 8.17b).
An inside linebacker reacting to a screen pass must be alert for the second blocker releasing to the outside and trying to turn back on him using a running drive block. If the running back is to his outside, the inside linebacker should try to go in front of this second blocker, move to the outside, and not give the running back a free lane up the field.