Slot Wide Receivers
The slot is the area in the offense a wide receiver lines up in, typically between the outside tackle and tight end. This position is a vital piece of every team’s offense because it allows the quarterback to attack all three levels of the defense with one player. Slot receivers are extremely versatile and often have a unique skill set that gives them an edge over other players on the field. They are known for their route running, catching the ball in the air or on short passes behind the line of scrimmage, and they also block well. They must have great chemistry with the quarterback and be precise with their timing.
Charles Fey was the inventor of the first three-reel slot machine, which was manufactured in 1899. A plaque marks the spot of his San Francisco workshop, which is now a California Historical Landmark. The machine was designed to take coins and pay out credits based on the winning combinations of symbols listed in its pay table. It was the first machine with a bottomless hopper and an automatic payout mechanism. Most modern slot machines use digital technology to operate. The player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a barcoded paper ticket with a scanner into a designated slot on the machine, which activates reels that spin and rearrange the symbols to produce winning combinations. Credits are awarded based on the number and type of symbols that match a payline, according to the machine’s paytable. Symbols vary by theme but may include classic items such as fruit, bells, or stylized lucky sevens.
In the NFL, there are some teams that feature a dominant slot receiver, such as Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs, Cole Beasley of the Seattle Seahawks, and Keenan Allen of the Philadelphia Eagles. These players excel in the slot because of their versatility, route running skills, and chemistry with the quarterback. They are able to break open defensive coverage with their speed and catch the ball in the air or on short passes, making them hard to defend.
In addition to their receiving skills, slot receivers are asked to run like a running back from time to time. This is especially true on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds, where they are called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback and must be fast enough to beat the defense to the ball. They are also expected to block on outside run plays, picking up blitzes from linebackers and secondary players and protecting the running back. They must be precise with their blocking and have excellent hands. They are a key piece of every offensive play and can make or break a play.