Organized Team Activities or OTA’s is a multi purpose term to describe practices, team meetings and team building activities between the end of the regular season and training camp. Although they are voluntary, they are an important step toward the success of the moving parts of an NFL team. Virtually all teams have an amalgam of new players as well as rookies all of whom must be integrated into a cohesive until once the season begins. Players who miss organized team activities are behind their fellow players as member of a team and as a position group.
There is a greater emphasis on system installation more so than roster competition. Rookies and vets alike must learn the terminology of their respective schemes. Coaches will be looking at whether new plays will or will not work and to fine tune positional timing. However, the most important aspect of OTA’s is to mitigate mental errors before training camp. Coaches want to evaluate all players from ground zero so that no single player has an advantage as a result of scheme familiarity. Mentally, the coaches want to know if a player can assimilate what is being thrown their way daily. When the Collective Bargaining Agreement limited the amount of practice a team gets, the ability of a player to quickly learn and adapt is of paramount importance to determine if a player is roster worthy. There are no extra reps to give a player additional time to catch up if they are a slow learner.
So while we will get glimpses of plays, players and schemes, the real work is behind the scenes.