A slot is a narrow opening in a machine or container into which something fits, for example a coin slot. A slot can also refer to a time-slot in a calendar or program where an activity can take place. The term can also be used to describe a position or position in the field of sports, such as a wide receiver who lines up in the slot.
The slot receiver is one of the most important positions in the NFL today. They help quarterbacks stretch out the field and attack all three levels of defense, and they’re particularly hard to defend against when they have excellent route-running skills and can run precise patterns.
In the past, a slot receiver wasn’t viewed as a full-fledged receiver and was often just a blocking back or tight end who occasionally caught some passes. But as the game has evolved, a good slot receiver has become an integral part of every offense. The best slot receivers are quick, agile and extremely fast. They also have great hands and excel at running a variety of routes, including short, intermediate, and deep.
Unlike outside wide receivers, who are usually taller and bigger, slot receivers are shorter and stockier. They’re usually around 6’0″‘ and 180-190 lbs, and they look more like a running back than a traditional wide receiver. They’re usually much faster than outside receivers, too. This allows them to run all sorts of passing routes and be very dangerous in the open field.
They’re also a vital part of the team’s running game, since they typically line up closer to the middle of the field. They block (or chip) nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties on defenses that try to jam the ball carrier inside. They may even need to perform a back-up block on defensive ends on running plays designed to the outside.
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