A narrow notch, groove, or opening, such as a slot for coins in a machine. Also, a position in a team or program that allows for flexibility and a chance to excel.
A football team isn’t complete without a slot receiver on the roster. Historically, these players were the “B” or “C” wide receivers who were responsible for lining up between the last man on the line of scrimmage (usually the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside wide receiver. They are a threat to all levels of the defense, and they are normally shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers.
In the past decade or so, offenses have come to rely on these versatile players more and more. They are a key part of modern spread formations, and many slot receivers are targeted on nearly 40 percent of passing attempts. They are also more valuable on running plays, as they can help to seal off the outside of the defense.
In addition to their responsibilities on running plays, slot receivers are often called into pre-snap blocking duties as well. They will block for run plays designed to the inside or outside of the field, and they may even be asked to chip defensive backs and safeties. In some cases, a slot receiver may even act as the ball carrier on pitch plays or reverses.