Slot Receivers in the NFL


A slot is a narrow aperture or groove, as for example a keyway in a lock or a slit for a coin in a machine. The term is also used in computing to refer to a position on a computer motherboard where an expansion card will fit.

The first known use of the term was in a 1932 book by author John Davis, who referred to it as “the hole in the center of the teepee.” Later that year, the first known slot machine was invented by Charles Fey in San Francisco. His machine was called the Liberty Bell and was based on Fey’s earlier invention, the Fey-Barron Coin-Operated Amusement Device.

In the NFL, a slot receiver is a second-tier wide receiver who lines up close to the line of scrimmage. This allows him to run a variety of routes, including inside and outside, short and deep. Slot receivers are typically shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers. Because of this, they must be able to run precise routes and have great hands.

They also must be good blockers. Because they are so close to the line of scrimmage, they often have to block defensive backs and safeties in running plays. They must be able to chip and block on runs to the outside, as well as perform a crackback block on running plays that go to the inside.

Because of their unique physical traits, slot receivers are becoming an increasingly important part of the game. In fact, some slot receivers see more playing time and have better stats than the top wide receivers on their teams. This is because teams are using more three-receiver formations with a fullback than in the past. In these formations, the slot receiver is a vital piece of the offense because it allows him to be open on multiple levels.

Some slot receivers are even used as running backs on occasion. This is because of their pre-snap motion and speedy skills. They can be used on running plays such as end-arounds, pitch plays and reverses. They are also used as decoys for blitz packages.

Despite their importance in the offensive game, slot receivers can be very challenging to defend. They are a favorite target of defensive coordinators because they are prone to making big mistakes. As a result, it is imperative for them to be coached and prepared properly. They should know the playbook and have a clear understanding of what they are responsible for. They should also avoid trying to predict the outcome of a play and focus on what they can control. If they feel they are struggling with this, they should seek professional help.