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Slot Receivers

A slot is a narrow opening in something, especially one that can be inserted into or fitted into another object. The word is most commonly used to describe an aircraft time slot, which grants an airline permission to take off or land at a particular time, but it can also refer to the space in a schedule or program, such as a vacation slot. The term may also be applied to the narrow notch between the tips of the primaries of some birds, which is needed for proper airflow over the wings.

In football, the slot receiver is a key position that has grown in importance as offenses have moved toward using more three wide receiver formations. The name of the position comes from where the receiver lines up on the field pre-snap: in between the last man on the line of scrimmage (often either the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside wide receiver.

Slot receivers typically need to be able to run complex routes that require a lot of elusion and evasion, as well as have very good hands. Moreover, because they are often shorter and quicker than traditional wide receivers, they must be especially good at blocking.

As a result, the Slot receiver needs to be able to effectively block both inside and outside linebackers, as well as safeties. In some cases, they are even required to chip away at defensive ends on running plays designed to go outside the formation.

A player’s ability to effectively block will also depend on the speed of their route-running skills. As a rule, Slot receivers are quicker than outside wide receivers, and they must be able to run precise routes that are often more difficult than their outside counterparts.

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