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The term “slot” is a colloquial term for a thin opening or groove in something, such as a letter or a coin. A slot is also used to describe the place in a computer where you put the money when you are playing online slots.
During the past few years, professional football teams have increasingly relied on slot receivers. These players are shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers, so they have to be able to move quickly downfield in order to catch passes.
They are a key part of the offense, and they need to be aware of their surroundings and know what defenders are doing on all passing and running plays. Having that awareness can help them run a variety of routes, including slant, switch, and cross.
On passing plays, slot receivers often run routes that correspond with other receivers on the field to confuse the defense. They also need to be able to read the defense well so they can get open for big plays.
Their speed and elusiveness can be difficult to defend, so they need to be able to block well in order to prevent the ball carrier from getting out of bounds. They also need to be able to block in reverses, end-arounds, and pitch plays.
A slot receiver’s ability to block can be a real advantage on running plays, too. They don’t have to deal with crushing blocks like an offensive lineman, but they need to be able to protect the quarterback on short passes and to be a dependable blocker in reverses.
When it comes to blocking, a slot receiver needs to be able to position himself behind the line of scrimmage to act as a shield for the quarterback and give him time to get the ball. This requires excellent body positioning and an advanced ability to use his hands, swivel, and bend.
Some slot receivers may need to carry the ball from time to time, as well. This is especially true when the team is using a 3-1 receiver/back configuration. This can lead to a lot of quick passes, but it can also lead to an increased risk of injury for the player.
As a result, slot receivers need to be extremely accurate with their timing and route running. They need to be able to run a variety of routes and have excellent chemistry with their quarterback.
The Slot formation is a staple of many NFL teams. It was a strategy pioneered by former Raiders coach Jerry Davis, who wanted his receivers to have great speed, strong hands, and the ability to be precise with their routes and timing.