If you watch football often you have likely heard the football commentators mention a crossing route. This terminology is known by wide receivers but for many casual football fans, it might as well be gibberish.
A crossing route in football is a receiving pattern that has the player travel across the width of the field without making any hard cuts.
A crossing route is similar to an in route though instead of running up and then across the field this route curves across the field.
The depth of this route can vary greatly depending on the play design. This sort of route can travel only a few yards down the field. While deeper crossing routes can take the receiver as far as twenty yards down the field.
Oftentimes the depth of the route will be determined based on the defensive coverage.
What To Know About Crossing Routes
At this point, you should have a good understanding of what a crossing route is in football. Now it’s time to break down some of the key factors that go into this route pattern.
Pick Play Opportunity
One benefit of a crossing route is that it can be used to generate pick plays. These are plays in which a receiver is able to impede the progress of an opposing defender in order to help his teammate gain separation.
The receiver cannot intentionally make contact with the defender but it is entirely legal to make the defender step around you.
When a route on the other side of the field crosses paths with a crossing route a pick play can occur. With the two receivers travelling in opposite directions it is easy to generate separation with a pick.
Finding Holes Between Zones
Another key factor that plays into the crossing route is its ability to work against zone defense. Since this route has the receiver travelling across the field this means you will be running through several zones.
This means that several defenders will have to pass the receiver off to one another throughout the play. As the receiver travels in between these zones there are going to be moments when they are uncovered.
If the throw is timed properly there is usually a window to throw the ball between each of the zones the player runs through.
This gives the quarterback an opportunity for an easy throw if he times it right.
And since the holes between the zones occur several times throughout the play the quarterback can throw to this route multiple times in a single play.
Potential YAC Opportunity
When catching a ball on a crossing route it is important that the receiver maintains their speed because this route can result in some serious yards after the catch.
When playing man coverage a player will attempt to follow the receiver across the field as they run their route. If the receiver is able to get a bit of separation on a crossing route they will often be able to maintain this separation after the catch.
When this is the case the wide receiver is likely going to have a lot of room to run. If they are able to keep pace with the cornerback these players should find themselves in the second level.