Slot receivers are a key piece of many football offenses. They have a unique skill set and often see more targets than the top two wide receivers on their team. They can catch the ball in space, evade defenders and run the ball when asked. They can also block and play in other ways, too.
The slot receiver position was invented by Al Davis, an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders. He adapted Sid Gillman’s strategies and created an offense that attacked all three levels of the defense. This is what paved the way for today’s modern slot receiver.
Typically, slot receivers line up in the slot position a few steps off the line of scrimmage, which gives them a wider field to work with and allows them to do more things than their outside receivers can. They’re a great option on running plays, where they can pick up blitzes from linebackers and help protect the running back or wideout.
These receivers are usually smaller and stockier than their wideout counterparts, and they can withstand more contact. They’re also faster and more agile than their counterparts, allowing them to get around the defense better.
They’re often paired with a running back to form an effective combination in the middle of the field. This combination can be especially useful on third down plays, where they’ll take a blitz from linebackers and then use their speed to keep defenders at bay as they run the ball.
Some slot receivers are also talented at blocking. They can take a blitz off the linebackers and then break to the sidelines to create a big hole for the running back to run into. This makes the RB more difficult to defend, too.
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