The slot receiver is a wide receiver who lines up pre-snap between the tight end or offensive tackle and the outside receiver. He is usually a little shorter and smaller than an outside receiver, which makes him more of an athlete. He has a lot of speed and great hands, but he also has to be very precise with his routes and timing in order to succeed in the NFL.
Al Davis was a head coach at the Oakland Raiders in 1963 and took Sid Gillman’s strategies to a whole new level by inventing the slot area. This formation allowed him to set two wide receivers on the weak side of the defense, with a running back acting as the third. The result was a more balanced attack that could take advantage of all three levels of the defense — line of scrimmage, linebackers, and secondary.
This strategy has been a staple in the NFL for decades and has become much more popular in recent seasons. In fact, slot receivers have been targeted on nearly 40 percent of passing attempts in recent years, with many offenses running an alignment that has at least three wide receivers on the field more frequently.
He is often called into pre-snap motion on running plays, such as pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds. This allows the quarterback to give the ball to him before he has a chance to run it himself, making it easier for him to catch the football in the open field.
His speed and quickness allow him to make big plays on the field, such as catching a touchdown pass or breaking up a sack. He also has the ability to block a defender, especially one on his outside, which is an important skill for him.
Because he lines up pre-snap, he also has a lot of time to get to the outside and run some very fast routes. This gives him a lot of flexibility to work in and out of the backfield on passing plays, and it can lead to some big gains.
He may also be able to act as a decoy, which can be a huge advantage on certain types of passes. This is because he can make a play by catching the ball in the air, but then sprinting to his side of the field. This is a good way to confuse the defense and keep them off balance.
Depending on the game, a slot receiver may also be called into pre-snap motion before the quarterback takes the snap. This allows him to make a quick move to the edge of the field, where he can catch the football or break up a pass before the defense is able to pick it up.
Because they are able to make quick and strong runs on passing plays, Slot receivers have more opportunities than outside receivers to catch the ball in the open field. Combined with their excellent speed and strong hands, this makes them a great option for offenses looking to attack the weak side of the defense.