Slot Receivers – What Are They and How Can They Help Your Team?
A slot is a narrow opening, hole, or groove. It can be used as a keyway in a piece of machinery, a slit for a coin in a vending machine, or an empty space on the screen of a computer. A slot can also refer to an opportunity or position, such as a job or place in a group. A person may use the term to describe their current position in a company or school, for example, “I’m in the slot as far as accounting goes.”
In sports, a slot receiver is a player that lines up a few yards behind the line of scrimmage and acts as an intermediate between the wideout and the tight end. They’re a threat to do virtually anything on the football field and can be very valuable for an offense. The best slot receivers are able to run routes, catch passes, and block for the running back or wideout.
They’re normally shorter and quicker than a traditional wide receiver and can be very dangerous when running routes. They can beat coverage by running past defenders to find open spaces and are often used as a decoy when an outside receiver is blocking for a run play. Several big-name wideouts have spent time in the slot this season, including Tyler Boyd, Cooper Kupp, and Davante Adams.
When a slot receiver runs a route, they usually make a single slant pattern and are looking to get open deep down the field. They’ll typically use their speed to get out-jump the defense and avoid being hit by a linebacker or safety. They can also act as a blocker on outside run plays and help protect the running back by picking up blitzes from secondary players.
Slot receivers can also be very dangerous when they’re asked to return a punt or kickoff. They’re a little more versatile than other receivers and can run a lot of different patterns to try and create an advantageous matchup. They’re a great option for teams that have trouble defending kickoff returns, and can be especially useful when the opposing team is stacked with fast, talented wideouts.
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