A slot is a period of time within a schedule or sequence. The term is used in the context of airport coordination to indicate an authorization to take-off or land at a particular airport on a given day during a specific period. It’s a way to prevent repeated delays caused by too many flights trying to take off or land at the same time.
Slot receivers are often drafted and signed as wide receivers, but they generally earn the title of slot receiver due to their specific skill set. They can do things that most wideouts can’t do, giving the offense a secret weapon that they often unleash throughout the football game.
They use their speed to fly past the secondary, usually the safety, when running a go route. They can also be very accurate with their routes and timing.
To be successful in the slot, a receiver must have great awareness of the field and know which defenders are where if they want to be successful in their route running and timing plays. They also must have excellent hands to absorb the majority of contact when catching the ball in the slot area.
Their blocking skills are more advanced than most outside receivers, as they often need to seal off the nickelback, outside linebacker, and safeties in the opening phase of running plays designed for the outside part of the field. They must also be able to perform crack back blocks on defensive ends.
They are an important part of the offensive blocking game and a critical cog in the offensive wheel for offenses.
The slot formation is a favored strategy of NFL coaches since it allows them to get the best of both worlds. It allows the quarterback to have one on one time with a receiver while the rest of the offense focuses on blocking the defense.
It’s a common misconception that the slot receiver is not as fast as an outside receiver, but it’s not true. They must have good speed to get past the secondary, and they must be able to run with the ball. This requires great hand strength and accuracy, which can be challenging for most wide receivers.
This is why the slot receiver is such an important cog in an offense’s blocking game. He must be able to block the nickelback, outside linebacker, safety, and even the slot corners if necessary in order to make sure that he can get a lot of targets.
He also needs to be able to get his hands on the ball quickly after it has been snapped and be able to deliver it to the QB in an instant. This is a very difficult skill to master, but it can pay big dividends for a slot receiver in the long run.
In fact, slot receivers have a higher touchdown percentage than all other receivers in the NFL. This is because they are able to use their speed and hands in ways that other wide receivers cannot.