A slot is a rectangular area in ice hockey that extends toward the blue line. It is also the fourth position of a flying display. Slot is derived from the verb *sleutana, and is cognate with German Schloss. The word has many grammatical uses, from referring to a job opening or assignment to the fourth position in a flying display.
Slot receivers are very similar to boundary receivers, but differ in the way they run routes. Instead of going straight downfield, they can run routes inside or outside the defense. As a result, slot receivers have become increasingly important in the NFL. Players such as Tyreek Hill and Branden Cooks are often used as slot receivers, and their versatility is increasing. They are especially effective in the catch-and-run game because their routes are shorter in the route tree. They are also capable of running quick outs and slants.
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A slot receiver can line up on either side of the field, and sometimes two or three receivers can be on the field at the same time. Some teams have more than one slot receiver, so they’ll use an inside-outside designation to distinguish them. In addition to the offensive slot receiver, there’s also the slot cornerback. This position is sometimes referred to as a Nickel cornerback. The Nickel refers to the extra defensive backs that make up a Nickel package.