Slot Receivers in Football


A slot is a narrow opening or groove in something. You can think of it like the mailbox slot at the post office where letters and postcards go to be deposited. You can also find slots in aircraft wings and tail surfaces where air flows to control lift or drag. In computers, a slot is a location where you can insert a printed circuit board (PCB) to expand the computer’s functionality.

A football player who lines up in the Slot receiver position, which is located between and slightly behind the outside wide receivers, is called a “slot receiver.” This term was coined because the receiver usually positions himself pre-snap in the area between or just behind the last man on the line of scrimmage (the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside receivers. This position requires a very high degree of coordination between the receiver and quarterback, because the Slot receiver must be able to read the coverage and anticipate which defenders are coming his way.

The Slot receiver must also be able to block. This is especially important on running plays designed for the outside part of the field. This blocking involves executing a chip block against safeties and nickelbacks, while also being able to perform a full back block on defensive ends. This is a highly specialized skill set that takes years of practice to develop, and it’s one of the reasons why Slot receivers tend to be shorter and quicker than traditional wide receivers.

In the past, slot receivers have been perceived as a second-tier receiver position, but in recent seasons this has begun to change. Offenses are beginning to rely on Slot receivers more and more, because they are often physically smaller and faster than traditional wide receivers. This has caused defenses to devote more resources to covering them, and it’s become more challenging for outside receivers to get open in the passing game.

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