ITP Glossary: Crackback Block

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From sail concept to line of scrimmage, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

Crackback Block

A crackback block is a blocking scheme element where a player split out wide, or in the slot, will motion in toward the formation and deliver a block to the blindside of an edge defender. A crackback block must engage the defender above the waist and, must not be a block in the back. A properly executed crackback block seals the defender inside, allowing a ball carrier to turn the corner and attack the cornerback one-on-one, instead to the bigger, better-tackling safety or linebacker who is the target of the crackback block.

This running play by the Dallas Cowboys utilizes a crackback block from wide receiver Dwayne Harris (#17) on Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor:

Just prior to the snap, Harris motions into the slot on the strong-side of the formation, drawing Chancellor toward the line of scrimmage. As the play develops, the Cowboys offensive line walls off the Seattle defenders, isolating Chancellor on the perimeter. Running back DeMarco Murray presses wide toward the sideline. Caught slightly out of position to the inside to begin with, Chancellor regains momentum to the outside, but is met by a shoulder to the chest from Harris on the crackback block. Now isolated against cornerback Byron Maxwell, Murray finishes the run for a first down.

The Green Bay Packers executed a similar concept, relying on two important crackback blocks by their wide receivers:

Running the ball out of a bunched receiver alignment tight to the formation, Green Bay forces the Seattle secondary to make a play. The effective crackback block on Chancellor by wide receiver Randall Cobb (#18) takes out the alley defender. As running back Eddie Lacy proceeds through the created opening, wide receiver Jordy Nelson (#87) delivers a key block on cornerback Jeremy Lane (#20), eliminating the secondary force defender. The rush attempt by Lacy picks up 14 yards and a first down.

The offensive coordinator is looking to get the ball carrier matched-up on the weakest tackler, out on the edge of the formation where a missed tackle could result in a big play. This is why edge defenders try to keep their heads on a swivel when there is a possibility of a crackback block from an offensive player in motion.

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Brian Filipiak wrote this entry. Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Filipiak

All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass.

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