"We were just high school kids. We didn't know a damn thing," Baugh recalled. "Dutch Meyer taught us. All the coaches I had in the pros, I didn't learn a damn thing from any of `em compared with what Dutch Meyer taught me. He taught the short pass. The first day we go into a room and he has three S's up on a blackboard; nobody knew what that meant. Then he gives us a little talk and he says, `This is our passing game.' He goes up to the blackboard and he writes three words that complete the S's: `Short, Sure and Safe.' That was his philosophy the short pass.
"Everybody loved to throw the long pass. But the point Dutch Meyer made was, `Look at what the short pass can do for you.' You could throw it for seven yards on first down, then run a play or two for a first down, do it all over again and control the ball. That way you could beat a better team."
Flaherty knew what made Sammy tick, and he knew that opposing rushers would be out to all but break his passer's neck. So Flaherty would invent a version of the screen pass to save that prize neck. Beginning in the mid-1940s in the rival All-American Football Conference, coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns employed the screen pass with great effectiveness; Otto Graham threw it to Marion Motley and other backs. But Flaherty invented the play almost a decade before, not from the T formation of later times but from the single-wing and double-wing formations the Redskins then employed. Baugh would receive the snaps at tailback, and the line would shift right or left to set up a screen for a receiver.
When Flaherty arrived in Chicago for the September 1 College All-Stars game with the Packers, he already was visualizing Sammy in a burgundy Redskins jersey. Flaherty visited Baugh and two other Redskins draftees at the collegians' camp. They sat and talked about the forward pass. The All-Stars' coach knew something of the subject as well. He was Gus Dorais, who as Notre Dame's quarterback in 1913 surprised Army with a new element in the game, the forward pass. Knute Rockne was Dorais' principal pass-catcher.