You’ve made it through security, queued to board the plane and settled into your seat – all that’s left is to wait for the captain to say it’s time to take off. But why is it taking so long? The reason is that you’re waiting for a slot. What is a slot and why can’t the flight leave as soon as you’re ready?
A slot is a specific area of the field that’s a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. This area gives receivers the option to run up, in, or out and allows the quarterback to attack all three levels of the defense. The slot is an essential position and a key piece of every successful offense.
Despite the recent boom in popularity of the slot, it’s been around for several decades. The concept was pioneered by legendary coach Sid Gillman and has since been adopted by numerous coaches across the NFL.
Gillman’s formation was based on having one wide receiver flanked by two tight ends, giving him the ability to create mismatches against single coverage. He also used the slot to allow the running back to function as a third receiver, attacking all three levels of the defense. This allowed the offense to be more versatile and gave it a huge advantage over the opposition.
Slot receivers are typically smaller and stockier than a typical wide receiver, but they still need to be fast enough to blow past defenders in the open field. They also need to have reliable hands, as they receive a lot of short passes from the quarterback and are often the first receiver to come down with the ball. A good slot receiver will be able to run a variety of routes, and should be able to excel in the vertical and lateral pass game as well as the short route.
In addition to their unique skill set, slot receivers must be physically tough enough to absorb a lot of contact in the open field. They’re typically tasked with blocking for other wide receivers and running backs, so they need to be able to hold their own against bigger opponents. They also need to be quick enough to catch the football in traffic and make the necessary cuts in an efficient manner.
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