A narrow opening or groove, as in a window or a door. Also, a position in an offensive formation that gives the receiver options to run up, in, or out. The slot receiver is a crucial part of the modern NFL offense.
The slot is a key position in the offense because it allows quarterbacks to attack all three levels of defense with multiple receivers. Without a good slot receiver, teams would have a hard time using the wide receiver/running back hybrid formation that is popular in today’s game.
In the past decade, the slot position has become more important than ever before in professional football. Slot receivers are typically shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers, which makes them a more difficult position to defend. They also usually play a more involved role in the offense, including blocking for running backs and wideouts.
Slot receivers are often referred to as “slot hogs,” because they tend to receive the most targets and have the best statistics among all receiving positions. The most successful slot receivers are able to get open against any coverage and make plays on the ball. They must be able to create separation, catch the ball in traffic, and run crisp routes.
The slot position is most commonly used in the 3-1 receiver/back formation. This formation allows the offense to set two wide receivers on the weak side of the defense and one tight end or running back in the middle. The running back can then act as a third receiver by following the second wide receiver up the middle or attacking the linebackers and secondary. In addition, the slot receiver can block for the running back on outside run plays and pick up blitzes from linebackers and cornerbacks.