Slot receivers are an important part of any offense and play a crucial role in running the ball and getting into a defense’s backfield. They also give quarterbacks the versatility they need to stretch the field and attack all three levels of the defense.
The slot position was first created by the late John Davis, who was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1961-1966. He wanted the players on this position to have speed, great hands and be very precise with their routes and timing.
They were called “slot” because they lined up in the “slot” between and slightly behind the outer wide receivers and offensive linemen. This gave them a lot of room to run and allowed them to get behind the line of scrimmage for easy motions and shifts in formation.
Another way that Slot receivers differ from outside receivers is in their ability to block. While they don’t need to deal crushing blows, they must be able to position themselves well enough to prevent defenders from gaining too much ground on the ball carrier.
Because of their innate speed and agility, Slot receivers can also be used for pitch plays, reverses and end-arounds. These are plays where the offense tries to get the ball out of the air quickly so that the Slot receiver can make his way to the outside of the field before the defenders can get there.
They may also need to carry the ball from time to time on these plays, as well. The quarterback will call the Slot receiver into pre-snap motion to help him find open space on the outside of the field. Once he’s found his spot, the Slot receiver can then catch a quick pass from the quarterback and break free of the defender.
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