A slot is a position on the team that lines up slightly behind the line of scrimmage. It’s a unique position that has some special traits and responsibilities that outside receivers do not share. By studying some of the responsibilities of a slot receiver, you can learn more about how to play this game.
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The Slot Receiver
The Slot receiver is one of the most important positions on an offense, as it allows a speedy wide receiver to work the field inside or out. It’s a position that requires great hands and top-notch route running skills. Compared to an outside wide receiver, the Slot receiver is usually smaller and shorter, but they must still be able to run precise routes. They may also need to block (or chip) nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties on running plays where they aren’t the ball carrier.
Slot players also often act as a decoy for running backs on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. They’ll be called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback and positioned to prevent defenders from getting close to the ball carrier. They won’t deal crushing blocks like offensive linemen do, but they do need to be able to position their bodies well enough to act more like a shield.
The Slot Receiver has become a distinct position in recent years, as offenses have started to use more and more playmakers inside the box. This has forced defenses to adapt and add more coverage backs that can play both press and off-man. The addition of the slot cornerback has also been a big part of this change, as it gives an offense the ability to use playmakers both in and out of the slot.