A slot is a term used to describe a wide receiver that lines up in the area behind and slightly behind the outside receivers on the field. This position is becoming more and more important for modern quarterbacks as they look to stretch the defense and attack all three levels of the defense.
These slot receivers need to be able to run many different routes, and they must be fast. They are also known for their ability to block, especially on running plays.
They’re usually a little shorter and smaller than a traditional wide receiver, but they can still have great hands and have strong speed. This allows them to be a reliable option on passing plays and give the quarterback an extra blocker when running the ball outside.
Because of their alignment and where they line up on the field, they’re often called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback, so they need to have excellent timing. They also need to be able to read the field and know what defensive players they need to block.
A slot receiver will also need to be able to carry the ball from time to time. They can do this on pitch plays, reverses and end-arounds. This helps the quarterback get the ball snapped when they’re in front of a group of defensive players, so they don’t have to worry about dealing with defenders downfield.
They’ll have to also be able to make the quick adjustment to a snap from the side of the field to the front, because they are lined up in the “slot.” This makes them an important part of the blocking game. They will need to block nickelbacks, outside linebackers and safeties, as well as perform a crack back block on defensive ends.
While they don’t have to deal with the crushing blocks like an offensive lineman does, they need to be able to position themselves well enough to act as a shield for the quarterback and other offensive players. This can be a challenge for slot receivers who aren’t seasoned at this.
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