If you’re an NFL fan, then you may have noticed that teams are starting to rely on slot receivers a lot more. These receivers tend to be shorter and quicker than traditional wide receivers. Their speed makes it difficult for them to be covered by safeties who are blitzing the line of scrimmage. As a result, they’re often targeted on nearly 40 percent of passing attempts.
In the past, all slot receivers were known as “slot guys” or “slot corners.” However, with the advent of faster quarterbacks and more complex offensive schemes, they’re becoming increasingly important to the success of any offense. Many of these players have special responsibilities on running plays, such as blocking for the ball carrier or helping to secure blocks against defenders. They’re also important in the passing game, as they’re positioned to cover underneath routes and can help break up double coverage.
The definition of slot is a narrow opening into which something can be fitted, such as a mail slot in a door or a time slot on a calendar. The etymology of the word is unclear, but it may be derived from the verb to slot, meaning to put into place or fit snugly. A more specific use is in reference to aircraft flight schedules: Airlines must secure slots in order to coordinate their routes and optimize their flight schedules.
Another meaning of the word is a position within an organization or hierarchy: The position in the copy desk occupied by the chief sub-editor was referred to as a slot. The term is also used to refer to a specific area in a machine, such as the space where a coin can be dropped.
A slot is also a computer term for the operation issue and data path machinery surrounding a set of one or more execution units (also called a functional unit) which share these resources. It is a concept common in very long instruction word (VLIW) computers, although it is also sometimes used to describe the relationship between an operation and the pipeline that executes it.