Slot Receivers in Football


A slit or narrow opening, especially one for receiving something. Examples include a slot in a door, window, or machine.


A slot receiver is a player who lines up between the outside wide receiver and running back, a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. Typically, these players are smaller and faster than their outside counterparts, because they need to be able to run complex routes that require a lot of evasion and elusion to succeed. They also need to be able to block, as they’re often responsible for picking up blitzes from secondary players and protecting the running back on outside run plays.

Slot receivers have a very specific skill set, and they’re not as versatile as other wide receivers. They’re specialized in the pass game, and they need to be able to run any route that their quarterback asks them to. In addition, they need to have great awareness of the defense in order to know where defenders are positioned and when to break into open space.

In addition to passing, slot receivers are often asked to carry the ball like a running back from time to time. This is most common on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. They’re also called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback and are expected to be fast enough to blow past defenders on these plays.

The emergence of the slot position was inspired by Sid Gillman, who used to deploy his tight ends in a way that allowed his receivers to attack all three levels of the defense. Today, many teams employ the slot position in some form, and it’s becoming increasingly popular with both fans and defenders of the game.

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