A slot is a narrow opening, such as a keyway in machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. It may also refer to a position in a sequence, program, or schedule. For example, a visitor might reserve a time slot a week in advance. The term is also used in computer programming to describe an allocation of resources or memory.
In football, a slot receiver is a receiver who lines up close to the line of scrimmage but is farther inside the defensive formation than a wide receiver. This allows him or her to cover a large portion of the field and provide an extra blocking threat for running plays, such as sweeps and slants. In addition, slot receivers can act as a decoy on some passing plays by running routes that match the other receivers.
Slot is an important position in today’s game because it helps quarterbacks stretch the defense and attack all three levels of the defense. Moreover, without quality slot receivers, teams would have a difficult time running the ball and creating big play opportunities.
A good slot receiver is quick to diagnose blitzes, read coverage, and adjust his or her route accordingly. He or she is also a great blocker and can help protect the running back from getting hit by defenders. Finally, a good slot receiver has excellent hands and precise routes.
In 1963, Sid Gillman introduced the concept of a second wide receiver on the weak side of the defense. When Al Davis became the Raiders’ head coach in 1968, he built upon Gillman’s ideas and created the modern slot receiver position. Davis believed that the best slot receivers were fast, had great hands, and could run precise routes.
Over the years, many players have exemplified the position of slot receiver. These players include Wayne Chrebet, who had 580 receptions, 7,365 yards, and 41 touchdowns during his 11-year career; Wes Welker, who had 903 receptions, 10,146 yards, and 50 touchdowns in his 12-year career; and Charlie Joiner, who had 750 receptions, 8,822 yards, and 84 touchdowns in his nine-year career.