A slot is an authorization to take-off or land at a particular airport on a given day during a specific time period. It is distinct from a clearance or other similar authorizations and it helps prevent air traffic control congestion that can result in repeated delays.
In recent years, the slot receiver position has become a necessity for almost every NFL offense. It’s been said that a team isn’t complete without one and the position has gained a huge following due to its unique skillset that sets it apart from other wide receiver positions. However, what exactly does a slot receiver do and why is it so important?
The slot receiver’s name is derived from where he lines up pre-snap. He lines up slightly in-between the tight end or offensive tackle and the outside wide receiver, which is referred to as the “slot” area of the field. The slot receiver typically runs a variety of routes, but he is also asked to block on run plays from time to time.
As such, the slot receiver must have good footwork and quickness to avoid getting bumped or knocked out of their route by defenders. They also must have great hands to catch the ball and hold on to it, especially when contested by defenders. Slot receivers often have to battle defenders for positioning inside the red zone and must be fast enough to beat them on jump balls.
Another important aspect of the slot receiver role is being able to get open on short and intermediate routes. The best slot receivers are incredibly versatile and can make plays all over the field. They are also a vital part of the team’s running game, as they help block for the RB and give them more space to work with.
Most importantly, the slot receiver must have great speed to create separation from defenders on go routes and to gain yards after the catch. It is not uncommon for top slot receivers to have speed numbers that rival those of a typical wideout.
Despite all of these traits, slot receivers don’t look like your typical wide receivers. They are normally shorter, stockier, and tougher than their counterparts. They are also tasked with blocking for run plays, and they must be reliable blockers that can prevent defenders from getting to the ball carrier.
A good slot receiver is a valuable weapon for any offense and is a must-have for any championship-caliber team. In fact, some of the top receivers in the league today (such as Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, and Juju Smith-Schuster) spend a majority of their time in the slot. The more versatile a slot receiver is, the more effective they will be on the field and in the win column.