OTA season is almost upon us as the NFL gears up for the next phase of the offseason. There is immense value from an OTA session for rookies and vets.
OTA’s are set to run for the greater part of the offseason now until about June 18th. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, many of these sessions may be virtual. However, that doesn’t take away from what a rookie or a veteran can gain out of these OTA sessions.
There is already reports of high turnout, however, because players are itching to get back on to the field and spend time with their teammates.
I’ve seen the reports of high turnouts for OTAs today. I’m not surprised. Talked to players last week who were excited to be back in the building this week. https://t.co/LqLQfrSyGQ
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) May 17, 2021
How Can An OTA Help Rookies Or Veterans Prepare For The NFL Season?
For rookies coming into the NFL, OTA’s represent the biggest opportunities to impress their coaching staffs. As the 90 man roster gets down and ready to practice, this marks the first time that rookies will train against NFL level competition.
They get to pick up on schemes and learn the playbook in preparation for training camps where they’ll get to showcase how much they have learned. Rookies get to understand certain concepts and schematics about a certain formation, and then they get to enact it, learning about their new time by “doing” rather than “watching.”
It also helps if they make those “wow” plays that turns the head of coaches, and makes them thing a little harder when it comes to designating roster spots.
For veterans, NFL OTA’s can be impactful regardless of whether the player is a journeyman, making his way onto a new coaching staff, or a returning starter.
For the old guy, there’s hope that he can become a mentor and role-model for the younger guys out there. He isn’t there to show the staff something they don’t already know but rather to display his leadership and rally the team.
For the new guy, things are much more open. Even though they may have been set starters elsewhere, things can change under a different coach and different scheme. Thus, their presence is as much about impressing the new staff as is a rookie’s.
OTA’s aren’t designed to be physically grueling or challenging. Their real value comes in developing the advanced IQ that an NFL player needs to succeed in the upcoming season, whether it’s a rookie or a vet.