A slot is a narrow opening in something, often used to accommodate coins or other small objects. If something slots into another object, it fits snugly and securely. For example, a car seat belt slots into the buckle of a car door. A person can also have a slot in a schedule or program, such as an appointment at the dentist.
In the game of football, a team isn’t complete without a reliable slot receiver. This position is a critical part of the offense and requires a unique skill set to excel at. Learn more about this undervalued and vital position in this article.
While a lot of people see the slot as just another extension of the wide receiver position, it is actually a distinct role that demands its own unique set of traits and responsibilities. A good slot receiver is a threat to do virtually anything when given the ball, and they help quarterbacks attack all three levels of defense.
Slot Receivers Line Up in the Middle of the Field
As their name suggests, slot receivers line up a bit closer to the center of the field than outside wide receivers. They generally line up a few yards behind the line of scrimmage and are the perfect complement to an outside wideout, as they can run routes up, in, and out, while also providing extra blocking protection on running plays going to the outside.
Due to the position’s proximity to the line of scrimmage, a good slot receiver needs to be very fast. They need to be able to run quickly and beat the secondary, especially the safety, when running go routes. They must also have excellent hands and be dependable blockers.
A good slot receiver will also be called on to carry the ball as a running back from time to time. These are usually pitch or reverse plays where the quarterback will hand off to the slot receiver after calling them into motion before the snap. In these situations, the slot receiver must be able to break through defenders and run away from them.
Finally, a good slot receiver will be a good overall blocker. This is particularly important on running plays designed to the outside, where the slot receiver will need to seal off the defensive ends and linebackers before the ball is snapped. In addition, they will need to be able to chip or pick up blitzes from linebackers and safeties.
While the slot is becoming more and more common in today’s game, it has been around for several decades. Players like Wayne Chrebet, Wes Welker, and Charlie Joiner have paved the way for this crucial position and made it what it is today. In the future, the slot will continue to grow in popularity as teams recognize the importance of having a versatile receiver who can do whatever they need to for their offense to be successful. With that being said, there are some things every player should know about the slot before making a bet on one.