A slot receiver lines up a few yards behind the line of scrimmage and acts as a threat to do just about anything. Depending on the defense, he can run routes to the inside and outside, deep and short, or even block for running plays on which he isn’t the ball carrier. The most talented slot receivers are extremely versatile and can make huge contributions to an offense’s success.
A good Slot receiver is fast and has excellent route running skills, typically better than that of outside wide receivers. They are usually shorter and stockier than outside wideouts, making them tougher to cover. In addition to their speed and routes, a good Slot receiver has great chemistry with the quarterback. If they can work together well, it’s almost impossible to stop them.
The Slot receiver is also a solid blocking player, and on running plays designed to the outside part of the field, their initial blocking is often more important than that of the outside wide receivers. They can seal off nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties from attacking the runner, and they may even need to perform a crack back block on defensive ends.
On the rare occasion when a Slot receiver is asked to carry the ball, he’ll do so by being called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback and then beating the coverage to the ball. He’ll also be used on pitch plays and end-arounds to help protect the running back by chasing down blitzing linebackers or secondary players.
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