Slot Receivers in the NFL
During recent NFL seasons, teams have been relying on slot receivers a lot more. These players are typically shorter and quicker than traditional wide receivers, but they also tend to have more versatility. As a result, they can be very dangerous in the right hands.
The slot is the area between and slightly behind the outside wide receivers and the offensive linemen. Slot receivers are able to run routes up, down, and in-and-out. They often catch short passes from the quarterback and must have good chemistry with their teammate at the position. In addition, they must be able to block for running backs and wideouts on outside run plays.
In 1963, one of Sid Gillman’s assistant coaches, Al Davis, became the head coach for the Raiders. He began to use the slot concept, placing two wide receivers on each side of the field with a running back acting as a third receiver. This allowed him to attack all three levels of the defense, including the line of scrimmage, linebackers, and secondary players.
Some slot receivers are more valuable to their team than others, depending on the offense. For example, a team may need to have an extremely versatile slot player to fill in for injured or ineffective receivers. Other teams may simply need a reliable slot receiver to help keep the offense moving.
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