A slot is an opening or position in a machine or container into which something can be inserted. Examples include the hole into which coins are dropped in a slot machine or the place in an airplane into which the control stick is pushed to maneuver it. The term also refers to a position in a sequence or series, such as a job or classroom assignment. The word is derived from the Dutch word for “place.” When used as an adjective, it means that something fits into a specified place. If a schedule has no available time slots for an activity, the organizers may have to cancel it altogether.
In the NFL, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who lines up close to the line of scrimmage and is responsible for blocking and providing protection on running plays designed for the outside of the field. Because of their location on the field and the defensive positions they line up near, slot receivers must be good blockers in addition to being quick with their route running skills. They must also have a keen awareness of the defense and the ability to anticipate where the defenders are going.
A good slot receiver will be familiar with all of the common routes that are run by wideouts, including slants, crossing routes and post routes. He will work to perfect these routes and be precise with his timing when running them. This helps him to sync up with the quarterback and become a dangerous weapon on any play. They also have to be excellent blockers as they often pick up blitzes from linebackers and safety players. In addition, they provide excellent protection on outside run plays and give the running back more space to explode into.
Many amateur gamblers believe that slot machines have patterns, and that if a machine hasn’t paid out for awhile it is ‘due’ to do so soon. This belief is based on the fact that slot machines are usually located at the ends of rows, which are visible to passers-by and casinos want to attract their attention with high-paying symbols and loud noises. However, the truth is that all slots have equal odds of winning and losing.
The best slot receivers are able to run every possible route and have great chemistry with the quarterback. They have to be able to read the defense and anticipate where the defenders are going to be before they even begin their route. They also have to be excellent blockers because they are a vital part of the offensive line and must protect the running backs and wideouts on runs, especially on outside run plays. They must be able to chip or block nickelbacks, outside linebackers and safeties. Lastly, they must be fast to beat the coverage and get open for the catch. Some of the most famous slot receivers in the history of the game have been Wayne Chrebet (580 receptions, 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns), Wes Welker (903 receptions, 10,205 yards and 84 touchdowns) and Charlie Joiner (750 receptions, 8,822 yards and 50 touchdowns). These are just some of the most prolific slot receivers in NFL history.