The League

Les Carpenter
Staff Writer

Les Carpenter

Yahoo! Sports reporter and former NFL writer for The Washington Post.

OTAs Command Control


NFL teams do not need OTAs. Nor do they need minicamps or offseason conditioning programs or any of the official excuses they come up with to bring players into their practice facilities in the winter and spring.. None of these sessions have any redeeming value that will carry over into the season. They do not help the players get into better shape for the summer.

They exist for the single purpose of control.

Football has always been a coach's game. Success, especially in the NFL, is predicated less on the talent of each team but the creativity and leadership of the coaches. In basketball players win championships. In the NFL, coaches who win titles. So it only makes sense that coaches demand full control of their players' lives. That can be difficult to do with a six-month offseason. But under the guise of OTAs and off-season conditioning programs that are camouflaged as team workouts and bonding exercises, coaches get to keep the players around -- and under their watchful eye -- for what amounts to an extra two months.

Sure there are some benefits. Players do get to know each other better, lazier players might benefit from a team's workout routine and quarterbacks can build better timing with their receivers by running pass routes at practices. Yet most professional athletes have personal trainers who often give them better workouts than a team can provide. And quarterbacks and receivers often get together on their own in the offseason anyway.
If teams stopped all OTAs, minicamps and conditioning programs the quality of the league would not drop. But the coaches would feel like they have less control.

And because of that, they will continue.

By Les Carpenter  |  June 4, 2009; 11:55 AM ET  | Category:  Free Agency , Medical , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: A Necessary Evil | Next: Injuries Can't Close OTAs


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I am pretty sure you need your players to be good if you want to go into the playoffs. Take the Redskins for example, we have really bad wide receivers, therefore, we are below average dig?

Posted by: BMACattack | June 6, 2009 10:49 PM

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