Slot Receivers in the NFL
Slot receivers are one of the most important players on an NFL team, and they have been a hot commodity in recent years. They are known for their versatility and ability to catch the ball in traffic and make defenders miss, which makes them a vital part of any offense.
The slot position came to be in the 1960s as a result of coaching strategy used by Sid Gillman with the Oakland Raiders. He wanted his wide receivers to have great speed, be very precise with their routes and timing, and be strong enough to deal with crushing blocks.
Al Davis, who took over the Raiders in 1963, was also very interested in utilizing this strategy and took it to the next level by implementing the slot formation. This allowed him to set two wide receivers on the weak side of the defense and a running back acting as a third wideout, attacking the line of scrimmage, linebackers, and secondary with each play.
They are typically called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback, which gives them a head of steam and allows them to get to the outside quickly. They also have to be able to react quickly to blitzes from linebackers and secondary players, as well as providing protection on outside run plays.
A slot receiver can also be asked to carry the ball like a running back from time to time. This is a key role in pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. During these runs, the quarterback usually hands the ball off to the slot receiver after sending them in motion as the ball is snapped. They then have to run fast to beat a defense’s best tacklers and gain the advantage in the open field.
Another way that a slot receiver is used is on short passes. When the offensive line is short on players, a slot receiver can run to the back of the line of scrimmage to pick up a block from an offensive lineman. This opens up more room for the wideout and the running back, which can lead to a big gain.
Many of the biggest names in football, such as Tyreek Hill, Cole Beasley, Keenan Allen, and Robert Woods have thrived playing out of the slot. Other players who have made a name for themselves in this area include Tyler Boyd, Cooper Kupp, CeeDee Lamb, and Justin Jefferson.
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