A slot is a thin opening or groove in something that allows it to receive or admit something. For example, a slot is the narrow opening that allows you to put a letter or postcard through the mail at the post office. It is also used to describe the position of a slot receiver on a football team.
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A slot receiver’s pre-snap alignment can determine what they’ll do and how good of a blocker they’ll be. Because they’ll line up close to the middle of the field, slot receivers will often be more effective in blocking defensive ends than outside receivers.
They’ll also be able to block the nickelback and other outside linebackers more effectively than a regular outside receiver. On running plays, they can also be a key part of sealing off the outside.
On passing plays, slot receivers run routes that correspond with the other receivers on the team in an attempt to confuse defenders. In addition, slot receivers are very agile and fast, which means they can be a big asset on pitch plays and reverses.
Some slot receivers also carry the ball from time to time, much like a running back. This can be a great option for them, especially when they’re called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback.
Lastly, slot receivers are excellent at reading the field. They’re accustomed to reading defensive alignments and can read the formation quickly. This makes them extremely accurate and can make them a valuable part of the team.