A slot is a thin opening or groove in something, as in a door or a wall. It is also a hole in the middle of a wing or tail surface of an airplane.
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The slot receiver is a special type of wide receiver who lines up on the inside of the offensive line. This position was invented in 1963 by Al Davis, who coached the Oakland Raiders and used it as his strategy for winning championships.
It is similar to the position called an outside wide receiver, but with a bit more responsibility. Slot receivers must be more quick than their counterparts, and they also need to have a high level of agility. They often run a variety of routes, and their ability to escape tackles is very important.
During the pre-snap motion, a slot receiver will move to one side of the field and back to the other, giving quarterbacks a better look at what defenses are running. This allows the quarterback to know what the defense is doing and makes it easier for him to hit them with the ball.
In the NFL, Slot receivers are becoming more prominent. They allow an offense to stretch the defense vertically and attack all three levels of the defense. This makes them a must for modern offenses and gives quarterbacks a reliable option when they throw the ball.
They can block and chip defenders on run plays and pass plays, but they also need to be able to make plays in the open field. They will often be lined up near the middle of the field and will be a vital part of the initial blocking on a running play, especially when they are aligned close to the defending linebackers.
A slot receiver usually has a slightly shorter height and shorter reach than an outside receiver, but they typically have top-notch route-running skills. They are great in the short- and intermediate-range passing game and can catch passes in the air as well.
The slot receiver is a very fast player and should have strong hands, good speed, and good routes. He also needs to be able to catch the ball quickly and have good timing, as he may need to make a quick slant or a quick out when he runs the ball.
He is a very skilled route-runner, and will likely have better speed than an outside receiver. He is also capable of running in a pre-snap motion, moving from one side of the field to the other before running his route after the snap.
Slot receivers are often considered a third-best receiver on an offense, but they are becoming more of a necessity. They have a number of unique skills and traits that they don’t have at their other positions, and they should be evaluated carefully when looking for a new receiver.