Often referred to as the “second wide receiver,” slot is a versatile position in football. It allows an offense to utilize a player with great speed and route-running skills to help out in passing plays, especially during the pre-snap motion.
Usually, a slot receiver will line up between the nearest player on the line of scrimmage (Tackle or Tight End) and an outside receiver. This can be crucial for the quarterback, who has a more open field to work with when he runs a pass play or plays-out. It also increases the distance between the receiver and the defender, giving the quarterback more room to read their defensive alignment and make a smart decision.
A slot receiver will often be asked to run the ball from time to time. This is because the quarterback can send them in motion as soon as the ball is snapped, allowing them to break through the defense’s blitzes and get out of the backfield quickly.
The slot receiver can also act as a blocker, which helps out the running back and other wideouts when they need a little more protection. This is especially important for pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds.
Slot receivers are also very fast and can outrun most defenders when they are sent in motion by the quarterback. They can also run a variety of routes, including to the inside and outside.
They can also act as a big decoy, which can give the quarterback some time to set up his offensive line. It also makes it more difficult for the defenders to pick them off, since they aren’t going to be able to get too close to the receiver.
Because they have great speed and excellent hands, slot receivers can be very effective. They’re also usually more skilled at route-running than outside wide receivers, so they can cover just about any possible passing path on the field.
A slot receiver can be a very valuable part of an offense, especially in West Coast systems. Coaches such as John Madden used this versatile position to great effect, and it helped the Oakland Raiders win a Super Bowl in 1977.
Depending on the offense, slot receivers can be asked to run as many as six different types of plays, which can be quite useful for an offense that wants to maximize its versatility. They can also help out as a blocking cog in an offense’s running game, too, which is especially beneficial to a team that doesn’t have a lot of talented outside receivers.
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