A slot receiver is a type of wide receiver that lines up closer to the middle of the field than outside receivers. This allows the offense to move him up and down the field faster than they would if they lined up closer to the sidelines.
This allows the offense to use him on running plays as well. On these types of plays, the slot receiver often has to deal with a larger number of defensive players. They will also have to block more than they would if they lined up on the sidelines, and will probably need to perform a chipping block in some cases.
Getting the Ball out of the Pocket
On running plays, a slot receiver needs to be able to get the ball out of the pocket quickly and accurately. This is important because it lets the quarterback run the play with more confidence. It’s also helpful when he’s trying to catch the football in the air as well.
Having Good Chemistry with the QB
Slot receivers are usually very fast, and they need to be able to sync up with their quarterback on every play. This can make the difference between a great play and an awful one. When they’re able to do that, they can have big games.
Route Running and Timing
Slot receivers need to be able to run just about any route that the offense wants them to run, and they need to have excellent timing skills. This means that they need to be able to find open space and get the ball out of the backfield as quickly as possible.
They will also need to know how to read the defense and know which defenders are where on the field, as they’ll need to be able to recognize them when they line up. This will help them avoid being blown up by the defense’s top tacklers and make it easier for them to get the ball out of their hands.
Performing a Crack Back Block
The slot receiver needs to be able to perform a crack back block when he lines up in a stacked formation, particularly on running plays designed to the outside of the field. He will need to seal off defensive ends and nickelbacks, so they can’t easily get into the middle of the field.
These types of plays are very difficult to defend and can help the offense score points in a variety of ways, including touchdowns. The slot receiver can also help to break up passing plays in the middle of the field, making it harder for the defense to get pressure on the quarterback.
Carrying the Ball
Slot receivers will also be called to carry the ball from time to time, especially on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. They will need to be able to move very quickly because the quarterback will have to snap the ball as soon as they’re in position. The Slot receiver can also be used to act as a big decoy for future running plays, too.