The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

What's the Difference?

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OTAs and minicamps might as well be the same thing -- the difference is primarily a matter of semantics. Most players would tell you that there isn't much of a difference, though there are limits to how long the team has control of the players in the more "informal" OTA situations. Both feature 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, the installation of new plays and the reinforcement of existing schemes. For new coaches, those 14 OTAs can be crucial in the implementation of their playbooks and philosophies. For new players -- especially rookies -- the more practice, the better. No-contact rules are nice in theory, but when you have tuned-up athletes running around at high speed, things happen that you don't expect.

I've seen minicamps and OTAs and I surely can't tell any difference. The major thing is that OTAs are "optional" and minicamps are mandatory. But there's optional, and there's optional. Tell any player on the bubble that a team activity isn't required, whether it's implied or not, and he's likely to laugh in your face. As the NFL goes forward to creating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (we hope), the difference should either be delineated or eliminated.

By Doug Farrar  |  June 4, 2009; 7:54 AM ET  | Category:  Doug Farrar , Free Agency , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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