Film Room : OTAs

Yesterday we learned that an OTA is an Organized Team Activity with a lot of rules attached – including rules that prohibit direct contact between players. So if football players can’t hit each other at a practice…what do they do? And how is it helpful to coaches?

That’s what Coach Billick explains in this video:

So, what did we get out of that?

  • Coach Billick’s interpretation of OTA is Organization Training Activities – same thing. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.
  • The offseason program is like spring football in high school and college, a collection of workouts, practices, scrimmages that build a foundation for the regular season.
  • About 1,000 plays are run throughout the course of the OTAs – roughly about the same number as run in the regular season. (Unless you are at Eagles camp with new head coach Chip Kelly, in which case you’ll be running 2,000 plays. In one day.)
  • The primary goal of OTAs is to get players used to the tempo a coach is trying to achieve. I’m tempted to make another Eagles joke here, but really, the tempo at the Eagles camp is going to be markedly different than the tempo at the Cowboys camp, or the Giants camp, or the Redskins camp. Each team has a unique rhythm to their practices and play calling, and OTAs help players get a good feel for that rhythm.
  • It’s not all about the tempo on the field. OTAs also instill off-the-field expectations – what meetings, film study, and workouts look like.
  • OTAs are also primarily for installing the system on offense, defense, and special teams. What does that mean? Let’s say a team’s defensive coordinator is going to switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3. That new 4-3 defense is going to be installed (taught and learned) during OTAs. Then, during training camp, the new system will be reinstalled and cemented in place so that it’s good to go when preseason and then the regular season arrive. It doesn’t only apply to teams that are completely overhauling their schemes, though. A lot of teams will probably adjust their systems and install more ways to either cater to or stop the newly popular option offenses  in the NFL.
  • There are 3 phases to physical training in the offseason: cardiovascular training, football muscle memory training, and hitting shape (which happens during training camp when hitting is allowed).
  • The end result? Players come to training camp mentally and physically ready to play.

Makes sense, right? Thanks, Coach Billick!

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