The Indianapolis Colts will be getting more of a full-team collection of their roster underway Tuesday in their first of three sessions of OTAs (organized team activities) for the 2018 season. They’ve had their veteran mini-camp which is allowed with the hiring of a new head coach, and the Colts’ rookie mini-camp was held May 11-13.
The team’s offseason workouts will be held in the following three sessions over the next few weeks: May 22-24, May 30-June 1 and June 4-7.
While these are a chance for the majority of the roster to get together and allow the coaching staff to, more holistically, envision an initial setup at each position, no pads or live contact is allowed in these workouts. On the other hand, it does at least resemble a training camp setting as each position group will attend meetings, individual — and special teams — drills as well as some unit vs unit practice periods.
The 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 portions of the day are the most lively, and though helmets are allowed, the staff must remain diligent to keep contact as low as possible. Everyone remembers the All-Pro practice guy — who was somewhere between third on the depth chart and not on the roster at all — if you’ve even played high school football.
Between those ‘warriors’ and the simple fact that massive professional football players are excited to fly around executing recent installs and impress the coaching staff, on both sides of the ball, sometimes incidental collisions happen. Finding the middle ground of a productive 22-player practice session and keeping the risk of injury at an absolute minimum is always the most difficult area to navigate.
If you’d like to get more knowledgeable on the NFLPA’s list of offseason rules, here’s your link.
What we’ll actually learn from OTAs in terms of individual, positional and roster viability, is often very little. But with a new coach, scheme and process there may be some revelations from the coaching staff in consideration to what they have at their disposal. However, there may be a few things that the Colts can gain from these 10 days of workouts aside from scheme work, and improvements in fundamentals.
For example, with a major change in primary coverage expectations, the defensive coaching staff will be watching the linebackers and the secondary to see who has the ability to plant and break, and who has excellent ball skills. They’ll also be paying close attention to see who stands above the rest possessing the desired explosiveness, and athletic traits in pass rush drills.
The offensive staff will be looking to see who can legitimately become passing game options out of the backfield and how quickly the receivers can polish their route running. With so many new faces in the trenches this season, everyone will be looking to see which interior linemen need work on their technique and how effective the tackles are at getting depth with their kick slide among other things.
Sure, OTAs are a extension of mini-camp and a precursor to training camp, but be sure to take everything you hear with a grain of salt during these workouts.