Slotting refers to placing an object into an occupied space. It is derived from the word slot machine, which is a device that spins reels.
When used in football, a slot receiver is a player that lines up near the offensive line. They can either go straight downfield or take an inward or outward slant. Some of their responsibilities include serving as a check-down for the quarterback, defending the quarterback, blocking defenders, and running quick outs.
Using slot receivers in multiple ball receiver formations can make things difficult for defenders. The defenders may have to move around to cover the receiver. If this happens, the defense can switch formations to prevent the slot receiver from moving out of the line of scrimmage.
Slot receivers can also be used in combination with a fullback or tight end. This allows them to be used as a wide receiver in certain situations.
Slot receivers can play both as a wide receiver and as a cornerback. The slot receiver can pick up defensive linemen breaking through the line of scrimmage.
In addition, slot receivers can also create mismatches downfield. These mismatches can help create big plays for the quarterback. For example, players like Tyreek Hill can stretch defense vertically off pure speed.
Slot receivers are often used in the catch-and-run game because they can block defenders and run a slant or a quick out. Defenses that have a slot receiver in place may need to add additional defensive backs in order to protect the quarterback.