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 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 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 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.