Slot Receivers in Football


In football, a slot is a position on the field where a wide receiver lines up relative to the middle of the defense. Slot receivers tend to be smaller and faster than traditional wide receivers, making them an important part of the modern game as offenses increasingly rely on 3-1 receiver/back packages and defenses employ nickel and dime packages to counter them. The reliance on the slot position has also led to the rise of a new term in the NFL, “slot corner,” which refers to a safety who is assigned to cover the deepest wide receiver on the team’s formation.

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Slot receivers don’t block like offensive linemen, but they must still be able to deal with defensive backs and safeties. They often must perform a chip block on running plays, and they can help seal off the outside edge on passing plays. Slot receivers may even act as the ball carrier on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds.

Slot receivers are sometimes used as decoys on running plays, and they need to be able to break tackles and run through the gaps between the linebackers and safeties. This requires them to have excellent footwork and to be able to anticipate the snap and the movement of the defense. If they don’t have these skills, they will become a target for the defense. The quarterback must be able to get the ball snapped quickly and in the direction of the pre-snap motion of the slot receiver. Otherwise, the defense will be able to jam the slot receiver and knock him out of the play. This will give the outside receivers a better chance to make big plays. If the Slot receiver can escape this initial jam, he will be free to run deep down the field.

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