Downfield passing play have been replaced by screens.
Has anyone else noticed that the Cowboys are not throwing the ball downfield much at all anymore? It's just RB screens, WR smoke screens, bubble screens and all the other screens the football world has conceived in the last few decades.
And it's not just a preseason thing where they don't want to show all their cards. Screen passes started last season and now it's not just a passing trend. It's more like a preconceived philosophy, making it a regular part of the gameplan from here on out.
I understand it's an excellent strategy for keeping those aggressively blitzing NFC East teams honest; but too many screens have another effect. It brings the defense closer to the line of scrimmage; which makes it harder to score points since you have to be close to perfect when every positive play only nets you five yards or so.
So my question is: what's causing the dearth of downfield plays? Why aren't they airing it out Don Coryell style like they did in 2006-2009? I have a theory but I was hoping to hear yours, as well.