OTAs for NFL teams are important. I’ve never questioned that. But what players gain from them is something only they and their coaches know.
I bring this up because I’m always amused when I hear coaches, media and fans heaping praise on players following these spring workouts.
“Joe Blow had a great workout today,” the coach will tell the media.
Does that mean Joe Blow is in great physical condition? Does that mean Joe Blow didn’t trip over the water bucket?
“Quarterback John Doe is making great strides,” you’ll hear on the radio.
Does that mean with no fear of being hit and no game pressure that QB John Doe threw a spiral? Does it mean he didn’t fumble a center snap?
OTAs are for teaching and learning, not playing the game. Players wear helmets and shorts. Are they absorbing the info being taught? That’s the question, and no one knows the answer until the games begin – and even if they do it doesn’t matter if they can’t play.
I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’m merely cautioning fans and media to keep in touch with reality. Getting excited about the upcoming season is great. Being positive about the team is better than being negative.
But false – or at least unfounded – expectations only make the disappointment all that greater in the fall.
Fans would actually be better off if they heard nothing about what happens during OTAs except for injuries that could impact the season. But the popularity of the NFL won’t allow that. Fans can’t seem to get enough coverage of the NFL. The teams, of course, love the year-round free advertising and promotion. Fans and media are going to take in every nibble they can. Teams are going to continue to feed the herd.
Just be ready to be disappointed or, better yet, pleasantly surprised come fall.
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