In the past decade or so, the NFL has come to depend on slot receivers more and more. These receivers line up a few yards behind the wideouts and tight ends, but have a number of different routes they can run in and out of. They also play a huge role in the team’s blocking game. They must be able to read defenders and block accordingly. They need to have excellent route running skills and great timing with the quarterback.
Slot receivers tend to be shorter and stockier than traditional wide receivers. They are normally around 6’0’’ tall and 180-190 pounds. They are able to run a number of different routes, and can even catch some deep passes. They need to be able to run all the traditional routes, but have some extra ones like slants and fades as well. It is important for slot receivers to have a good understanding of the field and be able to read defenders.
They are a big part of the team’s passing game, and if they can get on the same page with the quarterback, it is a great thing for the offense. In fact, some slot receivers have better overall receiving numbers than the No. 1 or No. 2 receivers on their teams.
Because of their unique positioning, some slot receivers are asked to run the ball as a running back from time to time. This is usually when the quarterback calls them into pre-snap motion before handing the ball to them. They are then able to use their speed to break away from the defense. They can also be used on pitch plays and end-arounds.
In addition to their running and catching skills, slot receivers are often called on to provide protection for the team’s running backs and wideouts. They need to be able to pick up blitzes from linebackers and secondary players, and they must provide a shield for the backs on outside run plays.
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