The National Football League is like an addiction.
Fans can never get enough of it, especially when the season is going on. As soon as the season is over, the search begins for something to satisfy that football fix.
The NFL Draft provides that fix for months. The seemingly neverending hype of mock drafts, player profiles, and expert opinions culminates in a three day event that captures the combined focus of every football fan on the planet. Unfortunately, as soon as it is over, the search for the next fix begins.
That is where OTAs come into play.
The gathering of 90 prospective players to participate in practice sessions is often seen as the official beginning of the football season. Seeing one’s favorite team out on the practice field, donning their team colors, going through drills, is a welcome sight to see, and a definite fix for the addiction.
For Packers fans, it is no different. Seeing their favorite players back on the field along with rookies trying to impress the coaches enough to hopefully give them a fighting chance for a roster spot is a wonderful addition to the sights and sounds down Oneida Street in the springtime.
Although there is much joy about the return of football to the streets of Green Bay, there needs to be a little reminder for what OTAs are.
While the stands are packed at Nitschke Field, with every attendee looking for some insight into the upcoming season and what the Packers will do differently, the fact is that OTAs are little more than practice without pads. Running through drills and a few plays without pads is not going to be any great insight into what the plans for the season will be.
In order to accurately gauge what players will be like, they need to put pads on. That doesn’t happen in OTAs.
While a player may make a great play during these sessions, one has to remember that going against opponents who are not determined to punish on every single play is not an accurate analysis of what the player will be like when they put the pads on.
Some players look outstanding during OTAs, working their individual drills with ease and excelling during team drills, impressing the coaching staff in the process. When the time comes for them to put the pads on, they disappear, becoming just another face in the crowd of 90 trying to make the team.
Jeremy Thompson is the best example in recent years of a player who is an all world athlete during OTAs, only to disappear by the time Training Camp concludes.
If you are looking for a good way to spend an afternoon, watching your favorite team practice without reading too much into what is going on, OTAs are for you. If you are looking for all the answers for the upcoming season, you may be disappointed with what you see.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.