One of the comments in a previous article brought up Andrew Hawkins, who is returning to Cincinnati after signing with the Cleveland Browns during the offseason.
The subject is: Does Hawkins usually work the slot?
[NOTE: Was going to respond to that comment but since a significant majority of our readers aren't commenters, figured we'd give this point a little more visibility]
Of the 216 routes that Hawkins has run this season, 113 came from the slot (52.3 percent of the time). Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer targeted Hawkins 27 times from the slot, completing 17 passes for 224 yards receiving and a touchdown. Miles Austin has lined up in the slot on 47 of 197 routes, catching all five passes that he was targeted for 60 yards receiving. Hawkins and Austin are Cleveland's primary receivers with Taylor Gabriel adding 170 routes.
Overall, Hawkins leads Cleveland in receptions (39) and yards receiving (504). Travis Benjamin, who is the least likely to play from the slot, leads the team with three receiving touchdowns.
As for who covers the slot receiver, the Bengals haven't done well in that arena all season. Leon Hall, who has played 204 snaps at nickel, has allowed 29 completions (out of 43 targets) for 354 yards receiving and a touchdown. Darqueze Dennard (opposing passer rating of 129.2) and Dre Kirkpatrick (opposing passer rating of 115.0) have struggled this season and Adam Jones has only played seven snaps.
George Iloka, who has covered slot receivers 34 times this season, has allowed only two completions for 28 yards and an opposing passer rating of 72.9.