The slot is a position in the NFL that got its name because of where it lines up on the field. A slot receiver typically positions himself pre-snap between the last man on the line of scrimmage (usually the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside wide receiver. A slot receiver is typically a more versatile player than the average wide receiver because they can play multiple roles in an offense.

They can be used on passing plays to run routes that go up, in, or out of the slot, and they often catch passes behind the line of scrimmage. They can also act as blocking receivers on running plays, protecting the ball carrier by picking up blitzes from linebackers or secondary players. They may even carry the ball like a running back on some pitches, reverses, or end-arounds.

Because of their versatility, slot receivers tend to be more valuable players on their teams than the average wide receiver. The best slot receivers in the NFL are usually quick, able to run precise routes, and have great hands. They are a critical piece of the offense because they give the quarterback multiple options when he is throwing the ball.

Slot players are normally smaller and stockier than their counterparts at other positions. Depending on the team, they can be anywhere from 6’0” to 6’4”. They can look more like a running back than a traditional wide receiver. Some of the most successful slot receivers in the NFL have been known for their excellent blocking skills and great chemistry with the quarterback.

In the early 1960s, Sid Gillman became a popular coach of the Oakland Raiders and developed the concept of the slot receiver. Al Davis, who later became the AFL Commissioner and General Manager of the Raiders, implemented many of Gillman’s strategies when he took over as head coach in 1966, including the slot receiver formation. Davis favored putting two wide receivers in the slot, as opposed to one out on the outside and one in the middle of the defense, which helped his team win three Super Bowls.

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