ITP Glossary: Scissors

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From punt gunner to climbing the pocket, 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.


The scissors concept is an air-raid passing concept that is effective against two-high coverages. The inside receiver runs a corner route, while the outside receiver crosses underneath him with a post route. Usually, this is a half-field read and the quarterback’s progression will go from post to corner.



POS. Assignment Release Depth
Y Run a six step corner route Inside 10-12 yds
Z Run a seven step post underneath corner route. Outside 10-12 yds


Below, California’s offense is running the scissors concept in the high red zone area against Arizona State’s two-high coverage. In this case, the Sun Devils are in quarters coverage which is a mix between man and zone; essentially, the defenders are in man to man if both the receivers to their side run a vertical route.

[jwplayer file=”” image=””]

Since the post and corner are vertical routes, the defenders have both receivers man to man. The Y is on the ball and the Z is off the ball, which ensures that the corner is deeper than the post. When the Z runs his post underneath the corner, it creates a natural pick on the corner and leaves him wide open.


Scissors could also be ran out of trips. In this variation, the Y runs the corner and the F runs the post, while the Z runs a drag route underneath. Against Cover 2, this concept is effective because the Z’s upfield release should hold the corner, putting the safety in a bind. A Cover 2 safety is responsible for an entire deep half of the field and it is very difficult to defend two deep receivers in the area he is responsible for. If the safety follows the corner route to the sideline, he will leave the middle of the field open for the post. If he sits on the post, he will leave the deep sideline open for the corner route. 

Click here for more Glossary entries. Follow us @ITPylon.

Ted Nguyen wrote this entry. Follow Ted on Twitter @RaidersAnalysis.

One thought on “ITP Glossary: Scissors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *