Slot receivers are shorter than wide receivers, and they run a variety of routes. They can be a crucial part of any offense, especially on running plays designed to get the ball to the outside of the field.
The slot formation was invented by Al Davis, who was an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders in 1963. He wanted his players to have speed, great hands, and be precise with their routes and timing.
He used the slot area on the inside of the field to set up two wide receivers he believed would attack all three levels of the defense. He also used the slot area to set up the quarterback with an option when he needed one.
In today’s NFL, slot receivers are often the most important position on offense. They give quarterbacks a reliable option when throwing the ball and are also crucial in the blocking game.
Most slot receivers line up just behind the center of the field, which gives them the ability to seal off the outside portion of the defense. They can also block nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties.
They usually don’t break long gains, which allows them to be an effective decoy on passing plays when a quarterback throws to the outside. They’re often used on a quick pitch to the back of the end zone or on a fade route that turns into the middle of the field.
Slot receivers are often a decoy on a short-snap play, too. They can be used to cover a blitzing linebacker, or they can be used to keep a defensive back away from the quarterback. They can also be used to create a lane in which the quarterback can throw to the outside without bringing his full protection into the field.
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