Depending on the team and your position in the team, a slot can mean anything from a lineup on the side of the field to inside of a boundary cornerback. There are a few different ways to play a slot, but the key is to understand what the slot does and how to use it.
Position on the field
Generally, the Slot position is taken up by a wide receiver, although it can also be taken up by a tight end. The Slot receiver usually lines up just behind the line of scrimmage, catching the pass in the “slot” between the last man on the line of scrimmage and the end of the offensive line. Usually, the Slot receiver is the third wide receiver in a three-receiver set.
In a three-receiver set, a Slot receiver usually lines up in the slot between the end of the offensive line and the outside wide receiver. This position is most often used in third-down conversions. It is important for the quarterback to have the ball snapped before a Slot receiver reaches the field, as they will need to position themselves to protect the quarterback.
Lineup on either side of the field
Having a good lineup is important to a successful game. A lineup of the right personnel can spell trouble for a team in any sport, but it’s not just the offensive line that needs to keep an eye on the ball. The defensive lineup must be prepared to shut down any attempt to get into the end zone. Having at least seven positions along the scrimmage line is a good start. In some sports, such as soccer, it’s not uncommon for a team to have as many as 25 players on the field at any one time.
Lineup inside of a boundary cornerback
Traditionally, a slot receiver has lined up outside of a boundary cornerback’s boundary. But in modern football, that’s no longer the case. Often, a slot receiver is used in a two-man formation. This allows a team to utilize speed to go inside or outside. Despite this, the NFL is still not very good at passing the slot.
The boundary cornerback is a tough position to play, especially at the NFL level. The corner has little help in pass games, but he needs to be proactive. He also has to defend more of a wide area than other corners.