Drilling the Shallow Cross

Shallow Cross Route Is Simple and Deadly

Greatest Passing Play Ever

I love the shallow cross play.  I’ve talked about how it’s one of the three simple passing plays for your tight end. But not many people run this simple concept.


Because they don’t know how to drill it.

But I’ve got that covered. I’m going to go over the main drill we use to increase our chances of success on the shallow cross concept.

Shallow Cross Drill for practice

You know you like the drawing

We set up our Fs - our fast slot type wide receiver - on the left and the Ys - our bigger, slower slot receiver - on the right side. The tailback will be behind whichever quarterback is closest to the wide receiver running the shallow route.

We use two sets of cones in this drill. The first set is placed at the three yard mark. This set is for the shallow runner. He is to run UNDER the cones. The second set is placed ten yards from the line of scrimmage. This is for the dig runner. He is to run his route BEHIND the cones.

The cones are the most important piece of equipment for this drill. You must use the cones, or something cone like, to train your receivers how to use space properly while running the route combination.

Now, the quarterbacks will all drop back at the same time. This is similar to the Air Raid’s Routes on Air drill. I make the quarterback who is throwing the shallow route call the cadence. When he goes through the cadence - Ready, Set, Go! - all three quarterbacks drop back as the F, Y, and tailback get into their pass route.

The first quarterback will take his three step drop and on the last step throw the ball to the Y running the shallow route. The second quarterback - who was also looking at the shallow route while he was dropping back - will hitch up after the first quarterback throws the ball, and throw the ball to the F. The third quarterback - who was staring down the shallow route, hitching, starting down the dig route - will hitch and throw the ball to the running back.

The wide receivers will catch the ball, tuck it, and SPRINT into the end zone. The quarterbacks will then rotate to the left. A new F, Y, and tailback will step into the drill and then you do the whole thing again.


That’s it.

That’s the drill. That’s the thing we do every day for ten minutes so that we are successful on this play. If you want to be successful on the Shallow Cross route then I believe you have to do this drill every day as well. It’s simple. It’s effective. And it will make you look like a brilliant coach.

So until next time, remember to never stop Mastering the Spread, Score Points, and Have Fun!

2 Comments, RSS

  1. Chad Walberg April 5, 2017 @ 10:20 am

    How do you control a slanting 3 man front if you are running one back power. The 4 tech tackle slanting into the play is a problem for us. Thank you

    • admin April 9, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

      Hey Coach,

      Thanks for taking time out of your day to read my post. We have our guard give a ‘Switch’ call when he is supposed to be pulling but has a 4 technique on him. That tells the tackle that he is now the one pulling and the guard will be blocking back. This helps us against 3-4 teams that like to put their ends in a 4i and bring a backer off the edge.

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