A narrow notch or groove, as in a keyway or a slot for a coin in a vending machine. Also: (Australian rules football and rugby) A player who lines up in the slot.
Originally, the term “slot” was used to describe the position of a wide receiver within the formation of an offensive play. John Madden, the legendary coach of the Raiders from 1969 to 1978, used the slot receiver extensively when he was the head coach of the team. He believed that a great Slot receiver had to be fast and precise with his route running skills, so he could break down defenses quickly.
Today, the Slot receiver is an essential part of almost every offense in the NFL. In addition to their speedy skills, the Slot receiver must be able to run routes to the inside and outside of the field as well as deep and short. In some running plays, the Slot receiver will even act as a ball carrier for pitch plays and reverses.
A Slot receiver is normally smaller and shorter than the outside wide receivers, so they need to have really good hands and be very agile. They also need to be able to block, as they often line up near the middle of the field. This requires that they be able to effectively chip nickelbacks and safetys, as well as perform a full-out back block on defensive ends.
The Slot receiver is a very important part of an offense because they can help the ball carrier get open on routes to the inside or outside of the field. They are also a crucial part of the blocking game, especially for running plays. In addition to blocking, they will need to be able to read the defense and anticipate what the defensive backs will do.
If a Slot receiver is having trouble getting open on a certain route, they can always try changing their routes to something else. By doing this, they can make themselves more vulnerable to the defenders and may be able to find a hole in the defense that will lead to a big reception.
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