Originally designed by Al Davis in 1963, the slot is a formation that allows an offense to attack all three levels of a defense — the line of scrimmage, linebackers and secondary. In this formation, one receiver lines up in the slot area to create a wide-open space for another player, typically the outside receiver, to get open.
Today, the slot is a very important position in football and a critical part of many NFL offenses. It is also a position that has been changing over the years. Here are some things to know about this position:
The term “slot” comes from where they line up on the field – pre-snap, between the outermost tackle (or tight end) and the wide receiver. It is a fairly simple position that requires good speed and hands, but it is a unique position in that it requires players to excel in many different areas.
They are used in a variety of ways on the field, including as an extra blocker when running plays that are designed for the outside. This includes lining up in front of nickelbacks, outside linebackers and safeties, performing an initial block after the snap, chipping defenders, and making other key blocking decisions on the field.
In the past decade, slot receivers have become more important and more versatile as players develop their skills at this position. Some of the best slot receivers in the game have paved the way for this position, while others are coming up behind them and putting up impressive numbers.
This position is a great option for teams with multiple receivers who aren’t strong in the middle or outside. It also gives an offense a reliable receiver when throwing the ball. In addition, a quality slot receiver can stretch the field and make all three levels of a defense miss their mark.
A slot receiver doesn’t have to deal devastating blows, but they do need to understand their role and responsibilities well enough to be able to protect their team’s quarterback. They need to be able to properly position themselves and prevent defenders from getting to their ball carrier, preventing a big play on the ground.
They have to be able to run routes that are different from the ones that their outside receivers can run, so they need to be a well-rounded athlete who is strong in all areas of the field. They also need to be a good receiver, so they must be able to consistently catch and make contested grabs.
Their speed can help them fly past the secondary, especially when running go routes. Their hands are also a key factor in how successful they can be in this role, as they need to be able to deliver the ball with great accuracy and consistency.
The slot receiver is an essential part of the 3-1 receiver/back configuration that offenses are using more often in recent seasons. They are a great asset to any offense that needs a player with great speed and ability to be an effective receiver.