So, What Are OTAs?

Their importance has grown

Bob Fescoe
May 15, 2017 - 3:04 pm

© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


OTA is a fancy term used to describe “voluntary” practices.  It actually stands for Organized Team Activities and at the time of year when teams start their run to a championship.  Back in our fathers' day, training camp used to be the first time the team would get together.  The team would go away for about six weeks and sometimes have three practices a day.  All of that has changed. 

Since 2001, when I started covering the Chiefs, I realized that OTAs may be the most valuable time for both coaches and players.  The pressure of the season is off.  Much of the information needed for the upcoming season, is learned during OTAs.  This month of practice time allows Andy Reid and his staff to evaluate current players and see what they do best.  The Chiefs staff has done an amazing job of putting guys in position to be successful, and knowing how to maximize that starts on the practice fields in the spring.    OTAs are also a great time to catch the eye of the coaches, especially for new players. 

Once the season starts, the reps are limited and its tough for a young guy to stand out.  During OTAs guys that are just trying to make the roster, have a chance to shine.  From Dante Hall to Cairo Santos, guys make big time impressions during late May and early June. This can be where you find a diamond in the rough

For a team like the Chiefs, OTAs can also be spent fine-tuning their operation.  I believe the Chiefs are one of the five best teams in the NFL, and they have a great opportunity to be playing in Minnesota in February (site of the Super Bowl).  What they do during these spring sessions help give them a leg up when training camp starts in July in St. Joe.  With the limited amount of actual practice time for teams now in the NFL, training camp needs to be used to implement game plans and preparation for the first game of the season, against the Patriots.  

Teams that win titles will tell you the run to the championship begins now.  The Steelers, Pats and Raiders will all be out there with the same goal as the Chiefs, to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.  If the Chiefs get a good month of work under their belts now, they'll could be ahead of the competition and come out of the gates red hot.  

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