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Don’t Read Too Much Into NFL OTAs

OTAs are here. Please, do yourself a favor, go to the OTB instead. We all love the NFL. Between training camp, the season, draft, and free agency, you can easily keep yourself busy for 10 months or more a year. In those other eight or 10 weeks, get some sun, read a book, do some work, just don't waste your time reading and worrying about Organized Team Activities.

Simply put, OTAs are voluntary workouts. Coaches are allowed to be on the field instructing players but there is no live contact. While some equipment is allowed, there are no fully padded practices. They are a valuable opportunity for franchises to see their own draft picks and begin getting a feel for their roster. For the media, it is an activity in which they have to report on even though generally there is no actual news to note.

Having to create news leads to stories about players who “look good,” guys who are starting to “get the system,” and rookies that “pick things up quickly.” You'll read a lot  of quotes from coaches about how pleased they are. I am sure Dennis Allen is thrilled now. When the Raiders go 3-13 and he is looking for a job in February all of those guys that were “really ready to take a step forward” didn't take enough positive steps.

The only word you might want to look for during OTAs is INJURY. Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was banged up in an OTA last year and inevitably somebody will go down this season. Hope your team doesn't suffer a major injury during what amounts to an off-season low impact practice. While you are crossing your fingers for health, if you're really vindictive, cheer for your rival's team to suffer an injury. If the injury occurs in Dallas, Washington, or Miami, watch how old, middle aged, and new overindulged owners overreact to an injury and make bad decisions in trying to counter their misfortune.

Sure it is exciting that football players are back on the field. It is possible a minor piece of information might come up during an OTA. The bottom line is that the season is more than three months away. Do you plan many events in your life, or worry about a lot of things that are 100 days out? Sure you might concern yourself with big things, but not pseudo practices. Games are important to a degree, the same can be said for other events that take place close to the season, but OTAs are the equivalent of ordering your lunch on a mundane Tuesday three months in advance. Don't worry about it, there are a lot bigger fish to fry. And the fried haddock will be there for when you order it in August or September.


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