As offenses continue to run more formations with three wide receivers, the slot has become a crucial position in the game. Traditionally, the slot was a spot on the field that a player lined up in pre-snap between the last man on the line of scrimmage (often the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside receiver. That’s how the position got its name – but it’s much more than that today.
The Slot receiver is a unique position in that they can line up both inside and out, which gives them a variety of routes to run. They need to be smart, savvy route runners with great awareness of where the defenders are at all times and how to beat them. Their blocking is also important, and they are a critical cog in the offensive wheel when it comes to running plays.
Getting on the same page with the quarterback is also key for the Slot receiver. They must be able to anticipate the quarterback’s throws and break open when they’re there. They’re usually shorter than a traditional wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be physical enough to handle contact and fast enough to blow past defenders.
A good Slot receiver will have an excellent feel for the whole field, as well. They’ll need to know when they can expect a quick release and when the defense is coming to them. They’re often a big decoy for running plays, which requires them to be able to read the play and get open quickly.
There are a lot of different types of Slot receivers out there, too. They can be more small and stocky, or they can be a little taller – around 6’3’’. The most important thing is that they have the skills to work effectively with the quarterback, and be a good fit for the offense.
A slot is a narrow opening, elongated depression or groove, into which something can be inserted, as a coin or letter. The term can also be used to describe a position, or an assignment or job opening: ‘a slot in the production team’. The word is also sometimes used figuratively, to refer to a particular place or time: ‘a slot in the schedule’. The first use of the word dates back to at least the 14th century. The meaning has changed slightly over the years, and it is now more closely associated with computer technology: a machine can store data in memory or in a file, for example. This data can then be read and processed. The word is now also used in aviation, to refer to an authorization to take off or land at a specific airport on a specified day during a specific period. This is in contrast to air traffic control clearances, which are similar but limited to a specific flight and can be granted or denied as needed.