Slot – What Does it Mean to Be a Slot Receiver?
Slot has become an essential part of the offense, giving the quarterback another option when he’s trying to stretch out the defense and attack all three levels. Slot receivers are a little different than your typical wide receiver, as they line up slightly in the backfield pre-snap between the last player on the line of scrimmage (typically either a tight end or an offensive tackle) and the outside wide receiver. Because of this, they have a lot of flexibility and can run just about any route that the outside receivers can.
A good Slot receiver is going to have to be reliable and dependable with the ball in his hands. This is because they often get hit by defenders while running routes. They also have to be able to make adjustments in traffic and find open space. In addition, they have to be strong blockers. Without a fullback or extra tight end to help with the blocking, the Slot receiver is going to have to step up and do it on his own.
Route running is a big deal for a Slot receiver, as it’s one of their main skillsets. They have to be able to run all of the same routes as the outside receivers, but they also have to know when to cut or change direction. They have to be precise with their timing, and they need to have great chemistry with the quarterback.
Another skill set that a Slot receiver needs to have is speed. Because they line up a little farther in the backfield than the outside receivers, they have to be able to fly past the secondary, particularly the safety, on go routes. They also need to be able to catch the ball with their hands in traffic and absorb contact while catching the ball.
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