Slot receivers are an integral part of many offenses as they find themselves on the field more often than they’re on the sideline. They have a unique set of responsibilities and traits that make them more important than their outside counterparts.
The slot got its name because of where they line up on the field pre-snap – between the last man on the line of scrimmage (either a tight end or an offensive tackle) and the outside receivers. But the slot is a much more complex position than that.
Players at this position are typically faster and stronger than their counterparts at the other wide receiver positions, but they also need to be able to block and escape tackles. They can also run complex routes that require elusion and evasion skills.
In addition to the basic responsibilities of all receivers, Slot receivers must be able to play both inside and outside coverage. This means they must know how to block and chip nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and even safeties.
Slot receivers are a crucial part of blocking on running plays designed to the outside portion of the field, and they need to be able to seal off defensive ends and linebackers so that the quarterback can run through them for a quick gain or pitch the ball. They can also be used as big decoys during running plays that don’t call for a specific player to be the primary recipient of the ball, such as a screen or quick out.