A narrow opening in a machine or container, such as a slot where coins are placed to make it work. Also, a position in an organization or schedule, or a specific time period when something can happen. For example, he had a time slot for his interview.
The modern football field has come to rely heavily on the use of slot receivers, who are typically shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers. These players help quarterbacks stretch the field and attack all three levels of the defense, while also providing a blocker on outside run plays.
They typically line up just inside the line of scrimmage and have the ability to go up, in, or out on routes. This versatility makes them critical to any passing game. However, they face an increased risk of injury due to their location on the field and need good chemistry with the quarterback in order to thrive.
They are often asked to run like a running back at times as well, and are often called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback. They can also be used as blocking receivers for running backs on pitch and reverse plays, helping them to pick up blitzes from the linebackers and secondary players. In addition, they can provide protection for the ball carrier on slant and sweep runs.