A slot is a narrow opening or gap, typically in a machine that accepts coins. The word is also used in other contexts, such as a position in a schedule or program, a time period when an activity can take place, or a space for a car seat belt.
A Slot receiver is a type of wide receiver that lines up a little closer to the middle of the field than traditional outside wide receivers do. They are generally shorter and faster, and tend to excel at running precise routes that can confuse defenses. During the past decade, many NFL teams have relied heavily on Slot receivers to help counter the increasing effectiveness of nickel and dime defensive packages.
Slot is a position that can be used in different ways by each team, but it usually involves running a tight pattern and separating from defenders on a number of occasions. It can be difficult to master, but once you do it effectively, it becomes one of the most valuable assets on a passing game. In addition to being a skilled route-runner, a Slot receiver is also an important blocker on running plays such as slants and sweeps.
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An air traffic management slot is a time allocation issued by EUROCONTROL to an airline to operate flights at a congested airport, usually when the system cannot cope with the demand on its own. They are generally used for a short period of time and result in significant savings in terms of delays and fuel burn.
The Slot receiver is a critical component to any successful offensive scheme. They need to be able to run a wide variety of passing routes, and have the speed to execute them quickly. They are often a step or two off the line of scrimmage, which means they need to be able to block (or chip) both inside and outside linebackers as well as safetys. On running plays, they may need to perform a crack back block on defensive ends.
A Slot receiver is a key piece of the offense. They need to be able to run precise routes and have top-notch hands and speed. They also need to be able to block, as they are often called into pre-snap motion on some running plays such as end-arounds and pitch plays. Depending on the play, they may need to block both inside and outside linebackers or safeties as well. On some running plays, they may need to even act as the ball carrier themselves.