Slot – The NFL’s Second Wide Receiver


A narrow notch, groove, or opening, as in a keyway in machinery, a slot for a coin in a vending machine, or an architectural feature. Also, a position in a group, series, sequence, or hierarchy.

A machine that pays out winning combinations of symbols according to a pay table displayed on its face or, in the case of video slots, within a help menu. Depending on the game, a slot can have one to a hundred pay lines that may intersect in different geometrical shapes and configurations. A slot can have wild symbols that substitute for other symbols to create a winning line, or it can offer bonus rounds that are more complex and interactive.

The slot receiver is a vital position in the modern NFL. It’s the second wide receiver in the formation and often has superior speed, hands, and route-running skills to outside wide receivers. John Madden used the position heavily during his tenure as a coach of the Oakland Raiders, and it became popular across the league after that.

In a nutshell, the slot receiver’s role is to receive passes from the quarterback and run precise routes in the middle of the field. He has to be able to perform almost every pass route there is, as well as running short and deep patterns. He’s typically a little shorter than other wide receivers and must be nimble to avoid getting hit.

While he’s primarily known for his receiving ability, the slot receiver is also an important blocking player on running plays. He’s usually positioned near the center of the field and must be able to block nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties. He’ll also need to chip (or at least partially block) defensive ends on some plays.

Another way to think of the slot is as a decoy — he’s there to distract defenders from the ball carrier so other receivers can get open. On some running plays, he’ll even act as the ball carrier himself for pitch plays or reverses.

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