Tag Archives: OTAs

Agree to Disagree – OTAs No. 2


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Maybe it's something in the water, because in this particular episode, Bob and Mike seem to agree more than disagree.

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OTAs – Day 4

Take a look at day 4 of Steelers OTAs at the South Side practice facility.

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New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks’ Foot Surgery Gives Mike Wallace More Reason to Skip OTAs

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Reports indicate Giants WR Hakeem Nicks' foot surgery was successful. hat's a good thing for Nicks and the Giants. And Steelers fans should be resigned to understanding why WR Mike Wallace is not participating in OTAs.

Nicks broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot Thursday while running a route in the defending champs' OTA session. He had surgery the following day and is expected to be inactive for the next 12 weeks (although Nicks' agent, Peter Schaffer, told the New York Post they're waiting on a post-surgery estimate).

If it is the 12 week originally anticipated for recovery, Nicks would be out for their entire training camp.

Injuries are often fluke things, occurring despite outstanding conditioning, proper technique and usual stress. While the odds of what happened to Nicks happening to any other receiver in the league are low, it's still a big risk to take for a player like Wallace, who's eyeing a long-term extension.

What if Nicks blew out his ACL? He's likely out for the entire season. Since it would be considered a football injury, he would still accrue a season of eligibility, thus making him an unrestricted free agent in 2012, but his stock, coming off a severe knee injury, would likely drop off quite a bit.

The NFL is ultimately a business, and Nicks' injury only gives Wallace more reason (not defending or supporting his agenda) to avoid team-issued workouts.




Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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OTAs – Week One Recap

The Steelers went back to work as they conducted their first week of organized team activities at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side

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Agree to Disagree – OTAs No. 1

With OTAs beginning earlier in the week, Bob and Mike have plenty of subjects to cover in this episode of Agree to Disagree

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OTAs -Day One


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It was back to work for the Steelers on Tuesday at the first day of OTAs at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side, and it was a packed house, with the majority of the veterans on hand.

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So Mike Wallace Isn’t Attending OTAs, What’s the Problem?


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Most people are aware Steelers WR Mike Wallace is not attending OTAs. Most are even more keenly aware he's doing it because he wants a contract extension, and not the $ 2.7 million restricted free agent tender offer the Steelers have given him.

There seems to be a split in SteelerNation on whether Wallace is doing the right thing - or even the ethical one. Turns out, there's a long list of Steelers who will not graduate OTAs with 100 percent attendance.

The Tribune-Review reported neither DE Brett Keisel nor CB Ike Taylor were in attendance for Day One of Phase One of OTAs. It's likely not for contractual-conflict reasons, but rather, something personal and probably understandable.

Wallace, though, is apparently committing some kind of crime, in the eyes of many.

At this point in the offseason schedule, coaches cannot work directly with players anyway. Any "work" they're doing in regards to the playbook is running un-defended routes without a pass rush. Any nuances of an offense gleaned from practice against air in shells had sure not be anything the players wouldn't have gathered on their own.

OTAs are nothing more than a way for the guys to get back together, discuss a few things regarding the game, stretch out and run a bit, pose for a few pictures and go over to someone's place to grill and enjoy the summer. These are not highly competitive, it's silly to suggest positions will be won and lost during this time.

Personally, I think the whole concept of OTAs has been lost on the media, who starve for NFL-related news this time of the year, and the whole thing has become overblown, but I digress.

It's not that Wallace - or any other veteran - doesn't need to attend, but...they don't need to attend. Besides, if Wallace is serious about wanting "Fitzgerald money," (a report that has yet to be substantiated by Wallace or his agent, Bus Cook, which doesn't mean it's either true or untrue) the team should get used to him missing OTAs in Pittsburgh next year, and minicamp, training camp and Weeks 1-17.

All that matters is if he shows up for Training Camp. He's only hurting himself by choosing not to attend that, and it would seem unlikely his agent would suggest he take that route.

If there's an intriguing part to this, it's the Steelers' full team minicamp is scheduled for June 12-14, or, the three days before Wallace must sign his tender offer or risk having it substantially reduced. The deadline for the team to exercise that collectively-bargained right is June 15, so Wallace could choose to skip minicamp as well, before signing his offer.

All he needs to do is look at recent history to see his best option; LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons all inked extensions quickly into training camp in 2011. Signing it June 15 and insisting upon continued negotiations through training camp is his best - and most likely - course of action. That's how the business side works. Neither the team nor Wallace are in the wrong at this point.

And certainly, he can run uncovered routes on his own somewhere else.




Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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OTA’s Open With Mike Wallace on the MIA List


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Mike Wallace has one of offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbooks. What the Steelers wide receiver doesn’t have is a new long-term contract.

Until the Pro Bowler gets one, don’t expect to see Wallace running drills alongside his teammates.

The Steelers began organized team activities on Tuesday and while attendance for the voluntary workouts was high – even All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu showed up – the focus remained very much on the speedy receiver who remains home in New Orleans.

The restricted free agent has yet to sign his one-year tender of around $ 2.7 million in hopes of trying to secure a lengthier deal.

Both sides remain positive one will get done. Neither appears to be in a hurry.

”It’ll be over, (just) a little bit of short-term misery,” coach Mike Tomlin said. ”It won’t be significant in the big scheme of things hopefully.”

Wallace missed the opportunity to get the first on-field look at Pittsburgh’s new-look offense under Haley, who took over in February, replacing longtime coordinator Bruce Arians.

The changes, judging by the first day at least, are sweeping.

From the terminology to the blocking schemes to the receiver routes, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likened Haley’s system to learning a new language. Right now, the Steelers are at the equivalent of saying ”hello.” Anything else might be asking for too much.

The process has Roethlisberger feeling like a rookie again, so much so he asked receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders to be patient and stop looking for the ball.

”I tried to tell (them) don’t get frustrated because I know you’re used to getting a lot more balls, but this is how it was my rookie year,” Roethlisberger said. ”I know what one guy does and I go to him. If he’s not open, I start scrambling.”

Which actually, is the wrong choice. Haley was brought in to give the offense some balance and take some of the pressure off the franchise quarterback.

The Steelers passed the ball on 56 percent of their offensive plays last year – right about the NFL average – but the team would prefer Roethlisberger not drop back so much in order to avoid the kind of punishment that forced him to play most of the 2011 season with a series of injuries.

”I know that I’m supposed to get rid of the ball, stay in the pockets and not get hits,” Roethlisberger said. ”I guess I better learn where the protections are coming from so I don’t get hit.”

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David DeCastro and Mike Adams Will Not Attend OTAs Due to NFL Rule


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I had written after the draft Steelers rookie OG David DeCastro would be able to attend the Steelers Organized Team Activities (OTAs), which begin Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

I was wrong, DeCastro will not be able to attend OTAs because of a completely nonsensical NFL rule prohibiting rookies to practice with their pro teams until the academic calendar year of the school they attended is over. All rookies can attend their team's rookie minicamp, which both Adams and DeCastro did.

I ran the report using logic, which was my first mistake. The fact DeCastro graduated in December, and did not attend classes of any kind (including graduate school) in the third or fourth quarters at Stanford led me to believe he would be exempt from the rule, which is in place to vainly stem the tide of underclassmen declaring for the draft and skipping out on classwork in the second semester of the year.

The amount of reasons why this rule is ridiculously stupid and out-of-date exceed my target of words per post, but I'll dive into a few of them.

First off, it's another rule that exists solely because it hasn't been legally challenged. Let's step past the fact DeCastro remains unsigned as of Sunday. If he was, the NFL and the NCAA have essentially a handshake agreement to not allow professionals to begin their jobs for the sake of keeping them in school. While in a small percentage of cases, this does make some sense, there is absolutely no reason why DeCastro should be held to this rule. He is no longer a student of Stanford University. He is an alumnus. He fulfilled the academic requirements for a degree, and is probably fielding calls from the school asking for money as I write this.

What difference does it make if Johnny Stanford Student has tests to take in June? While it seems trivial in the grand scheme of things, the fact is he's soon to be officially a professional football player. How is it the NFL's right to deny him the start of his career until the school he hasn't attended since December hasn't let out for the summer?

The initial impression we've gotten from DeCastro is he is an all-business all-seriousness all-the-time kind of guy. He wants to get out on the field and learn how to play at the pro level with his teammates. Even if it is just OTAs, he should be allowed to do that.

He is no longer under scholarship. The school provided him with nothing outside the use of their facilities for workouts and his pro day. But the school, as well as his future employer (the NFL) prevent him from starting his post-college career.

I reported Adams wouldn't be able to attend, just like Ohio State alumni (using that term loosely) Santonio Holmes and Cameron Heyward, first round Steelers draft picks, and every other former OSU player who is drafted or gets signed to an NFL team's roster. That makes little more sense, with the only difference being Adams did not graduate.

Why must we continue to feed the false notion a young man of Adams' ability is in college to earn a degree? Why does he have to perpetuate the facade that Ohio State University, or any other major college football program, exists to give him an education?

He's there to help ensure alumni dollars continue to roll in and keep the stadium seats full. Adams, in turn, gets a hardcore education in his future career as a professional football player.

It's ok to simply call it what it is. Gone is the era of the Academic All America who wins the Heisman Trophy and weighs whether to go to medical school or play professional football. Adams signed a contract that is going to pay him $ 500,000 a year for the next four years. If he does well, he will easily make 10 times that amount. If he doesn't, or he gets injured, he can go back to school, or generally do whatever he wants.

Those are facts. Ironically, the best job a guy like Adams can get, a pro athlete, does not require a college degree (according to NFL bylaws, a player doesn't even need to attend college), so why should any of those prospective players be prevented from starting that career because their former classmates still have papers to write?

The worst part of this is no one can provide a valid answer to that question. I can't even find where this rule is written. It's not in the NFL bylaws, which I read top to bottom in researching this column.

All of this strongly suggests it's a rule without any meaning; kind of like the Simpsons' hometown of Springfield have a rule on the books requiring ducks to wear long pants (4F15).

The problem is, even the mythical and dysfunctional town of Springfield doesn't enforce the ducks wearing long pants law. It's not clear why the NFL enforces their rule, but I will use less logic when writing in the future.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Steelers Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Begin Tuesday in Pittsburgh


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Big Blue View editor Ed Valentine does a great job in summarizing the specifics of what OTAs are, and what Steelers fans can expect to happen at the start of Phase One of OTAs, which is set to begin Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

The main goal of Phase One is based around conditioning and rehabilitation. In other words, this time will mostly be spent with strength and conditioning coaches conducting variations of track practice or military basic training.

OTAs are broken into three phases, and per the CBA signed Aug. 4, 2011, they are defined thusly:

Phase One

Phase One shall consist of the first two weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in S ection 5 of this Article, Phase One activities shall b e limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. During Phase One, only full-time or part-time strength and condi­tioning coaches, who have no other coaching responsibilities with the Club, shall be
allowed o n the field; n o other coaches shall b e allowed on the field or to otherwise par­ticipate in or observe activities. No footballs shall b e permitted to be used (only "dead ball" activities), except that quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers provided they are not covered by any other player. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase One.

Conditioning is important, and unfortunately, the only news that comes out of this phase of OTAs involves injuries. This is why it's key players maintain good conditioning in the time leading up to OTAs.

During this time, players aren't allowed any access to position coaches or coordinators, and the players themselves more or less run drills without coaching. They may run seven-on-seven passing drills or work together on footwork and technique.

Phase Two

Phase Two shall consist of the next three weeks of the Club' s offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, during Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field. On-field wor­
kouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play" drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a "separates" basis (e.g .. , kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team). No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense v s . defense drills are permitted (e.g .. , no one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump­ and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are p ermitted.) Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.

Phase Two for the Steelers is May 29-31.

Phase Three

Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks o f the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsec­tions 5 (a) and 5 (c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity ("OTAs" or "OTA days"). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5 (b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs
may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days o f OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2 (b)(ii) of this Ar­ticle. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs . defens e drills are p ermitted (i. e . , no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are p ermitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs . team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are p ermitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permit­
ted during Phase Three of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.

Phase Three for the Steelers is June 4-7.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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