A slot is a specific type of connection on a server that is reserved for a particular user. This is different from a shared slot which allows multiple users to access the same resource at the same time. A shared slot is often used by a web server or database to accommodate large number of users simultaneously.
The Slot receiver is a special wide receiver position that lines up between and slightly behind the outside wide receivers. Typically, the Slot receiver is a little shorter and smaller than outside wide receivers. Despite their size, Slot receivers must be able to run just about any route on the field. They also need to be able to block well. They are essential to many running plays, such as slants and sweeps, because they can help protect the ball carrier from big hits.
Slot receivers also are needed for pass protection, as they can provide a nice shield against linebackers and secondary players. However, they don’t have to be able to deal crushing blocks like offensive linemen do. Instead, they need to be able to quickly adjust their body weight and position themselves in front of the linebackers and secondary players. They are usually called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback, and they must be able to react to the play quickly.
Depending on the offensive scheme and the coach, a Slot receiver may be asked to do a number of things. Some coaches, such as Jack Del Rio, use them as a decoy on certain pass patterns. Others, such as John Madden, use them as a deep threat on passing plays. Regardless of the exact play, Slot receivers are usually expected to be fast and have great hands. They also need to be able to run precise routes because they are often asked to mirror other receivers.
On some running plays, the Slot receiver will even act as a ball carrier. The quarterback will hand the ball off to them after sending them in motion as the ball is snapped. Then, they will try to run around the defense and find open space to get into the end zone. They will also be utilized on pitch plays, reverses, and end-arounds.
A Slot receiver needs to have good hands and speed, but they are also required to be able to run precise routes. They also need to be able to read the game and adjust their routes accordingly. For example, a slot receiver might need to change their route when the ball is coming out of the air to avoid getting hit by a defensive back. This is a difficult thing to do, and it requires a lot of practice. However, if a Slot receiver is able to do it, they can be very effective. Then again, if they are not careful, they can be injured very easily. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why so few Slot receivers make it to the NFL.