Look, I get it. It is June. We’re still a couple of months away from the start of anything resembling NFL football. We’re fans and we are HANGRY for anything Orange and Blue to sink our dry, parched teeth into.
So now we are hashing out the QB battle, hyping up our favorite long shots to make the team, and waiting with bated breath for any nugget of insight on how well the team is going to work come week 1.
Let’s all take a breath
Seriously. Breath in....then let it out slowly.
I think many of us in Bronco Country have let our fanaticism carry away our logic circuits.
I’d like to invite you all to take a quick journey with me back toward the land of reality and the place where you get guys saying things to the media like Derek Wolfe today:
“...In our eyes, it’s fake news, making something out of nothing, which is what you guys usually do.”
What are OTAs?
Let’s start off with the name. OTAs stands for “Organized Team Activities”. At its core, it is an opportunity for NFL job training for players from their team’s coaching staff. Let’s also take the time to list a few of the basic important points about OTAs:
- They are completely voluntary. Teams can’t mandate that players attend.
- Players may not take part in one on one drills
- Players may not make live football contact
- Players are not in full pads, but do wear helmets
- Media must be given access to one out of every 4 days of activities
So what kind of business is going on exactly?
The first thing we should say about this is that anybody who tells you they know 100% is lying to you. The media is only there 1⁄4 of the days that they have activities. Teams also aren’t going to lay out their training programs, schemes, and goals in the public since that would give away useful information to their opponents.
But we can assume a few things happen because it just makes good plain common sense.
1) Players are being trained on the team’s scheme, playbook, and terminology
This groundwork has to be laid down and in training camp there’s not enough time to lump it in when you want to see the players laying the wood on each other and actually running the plays instead of learning them.
This has to be the #1 order of the day for OTAs. Especially for a team like the Denver Broncos who have some pretty significant changes to their coaching structure.
2) Coaches get to coach players on technique
This is something that hopefully continues at some level throughout training camp. Nevertheless, the A, B, Cs of what coaches want to see technique-wise from the players has to be laid down in OTAs so that the coaches can see the techniques employed when they get the opportunity to put the players in pads.
This time is invaluable for the younger players especially as the NFL expects a whole lot more perfection and execution than what was required in the college game.
3) Coaches get their first live opportunity to both assess and set goals with the players
Sure, coaches have access to a ton of video of the players on their teams. That being said, there is no replacement for live viewing of what players can do on the field, how they react to live situations, and what their instincts on the field are.
Using this assessment, the coaches get to work with the players to provide them direction on what the team is going to be looking for from them.
Things to think on
I’ll wrap this up with some friendly No Bull suggestions for a calmer, more realistic fan experience during this parched desert of the year we call the off season:
About that hype...
- Always keep in mind there aren’t pads on. None of this shizzle means squizzle until players are able to lower the boom on each other.
- The media (yeah...that’s us) only gets to report on 1⁄4 of the activities at best.
- There is no such thing as non-biased reporting in this industry from local coverage (I find it really entertaining to read the quotes from the team, then look at how reporters use those quotes).
- Hype sells. Seriously...all we have to do is throw the words “Tebow” in a title and we’ll get thousands of clicks. It is silliness at its best.
About the team...
- The team just parted ways with one of the most inept offensive coaching groups I’ve ever witnessed judging strictly by the product on the field in 2016 and are as such completely revamping the offense.
- The offense has no clear QB that the team has gone “All-in” with. All 4 QBs on the team are very young, have talent, and haven’t proved jack or squat on the NFL field.
- The offensive line was a joke and we absolutely won’t know much of value until they get pads on.
- The defense while supposedly not changing much does have a brand new defensive coordinator. I’ve never seen a new coordinator keep everything exactly the same scheme-wise as how it was when they were hired in all my years of watching NFL football.
So read between the lines a little, but try to keep your thoughts tempered with the above info. Let’s see the players on the field, in pads, in real match ups before we get too excited. Real football is still an awfully long way away.