A slot receiver is a player on a team that has the ability to run routes. These players may also be the quarterback’s pitch target or serve as a blocker on run plays.
Unlike an outside receiver, a slot receiver can be on the field more often than not. The position requires a strong understanding of the entire field. It also requires good speed and hand-eye coordination.
Slot receivers are called into the pre-snap motion, which helps give the quarterback a read on the defense. As they make their way into the backfield, the quarterback is trying to get the ball snapped.
Slot receivers are usually smaller than outside receivers, but they have more options. If the offense is playing a running play, the slot receiver will need to chip the defensive end or outside linebacker.
They must be well-rounded offensive players with advanced blocking skills. They can also be a blocker for a runner or carry the ball like a running back.
Slot receivers are usually the last or second-to-last man on the line of scrimmage, either the tight end or the offensive tackle. However, this can vary. In some games, there might be as many as three slot receivers.
When a receiver is positioned in the slot, he is a major cog in the wheel of the offense’s blocking scheme. He should have great hands and excellent route-running skills. This is especially true in outside running plays.
Often, the Slot receiver will have a full head of steam before he catches the football. He will have enough room to run routes, and will be able to avoid the best tacklers.