A football team isn’t complete without a versatile slot receiver. Unlike the outside wide receivers, the slot player lines up a few steps behind the line of scrimmage, making him a threat to run up and down, inside and out. The slot is a very demanding position that requires speed and precise route running, as well as good hands and excellent chemistry with the quarterback.
The term “slot” is also used in computer science to describe a position on a computer chip, or in a hard disk drive for storage of data. It may also refer to a portion of the screen where a game is displayed. A slot is a narrow opening into which something can fit, such as a coin in a slot machine or a CD in a disc drive.
Often shorter and stockier than their outside counterparts, slot receivers need to be able to run precise routes and catch short passes on the quick. They also block for running backs and wideouts on inside and outside run plays, picking up blitzes from linebackers or secondary players, and giving the ball carrier more space to work.
In the past decade or so, many teams have begun to rely heavily on slot receivers as their top pass-catching targets. As a result, they have become a crucial part of the offensive game plan and a key to a successful offense. They are usually a little smaller and faster than traditional wide receivers, and they often excel in running precisely-designed routes. In addition, they are often very agile and can perform a number of different tasks that outside receivers cannot.
Because they often receive the ball directly from the quarterback on pitch and reverse plays, Slot receivers must be able to run the ball as well as catch it. In fact, many of them act like a running back on these plays, being called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback and then carrying the ball down the field before the ball is snapped.
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