Tomorrow, the Steelers begin their OTA's, and for die-hard fans, it's at least a little taste of football, so to speak. We'll get to see our boys in action again, albeit only in shorts, and we'll get another glimpse of the new rookie crop...........well, except for DeCastro and Adams.
Speaking of that, Mike Wallace also won't be there because of his contract dispute, and his absence will probably dominate much of the talk. Coach Mike Tomlin will more than likely have to spend the majority of his time with the media deflecting questions about his speedy receiver.
I don't think that will be the only news. I'm sure there will be some "OTA Wonders" that really look good in their helmets and shorts, and we'll marvel at their sheer athleticism.
Although, I'm pretty sure we won't be allowed to marvel because I don't think OTA's are open to the general public.
In years past, before OTA's, there was mini camp (there might still be mini camp, and if there is, I'm sure I won't be able to tell the difference), and the thing that I remember most about Steelers mini camp was that it wasn't training camp.
Mini camps, OTA's, whatever you want to call them, are like the two or three days before your big vacation. You're really excited about it, but you're still bummed because you have another few days of work. Plus, you still have tons of things to take care of like packing, making sure the dogs get to the kennel on time, confirming your flight, and if you're going out of the country, finding your passport.
You still have to get all of that stuff out of the way before you can even dream about being on the plane.
Training Camp, when the boys head to Latrobe in late July, now that's more like it. For a football fan like me, that's the equivalent to being on the plane to your tropical destination. It's still not quite September, but you're headed in the right direction.
OTA's are more for the players than they are for the fans. It's like the read-through before the actual rehearsal. I don't know about you, but I'd love to see some of my favorite actors and actresses rehearse before their big scenes; I find that pretty intriguing. But I have no desire to see them sitting around a table and reading their lines for the first time, months before the movie will even begin production.
I do realize that, at least for the offense, these OTA's will be a little more urgent than in years past because of Todd Haley's new terminology. But again, it's for the players; it's their script readings. As a fan, I don't know how much enjoyment I'd get from it even if I could see it live.
When it comes to OTA's, I'm more concerned about what a player doesn't do than what he does do. I don't want to hear about the great moves that (insert young rookie phenom here) displayed in OTA's. I just want to know that his ACL is still intact after those great moves and that he'll be attending training camp.
To sum it all up, these are the dog days of the offseason for football fans. And OTA's are just a reminder that we still have two months to go before training camp, which means we're still a good four months away from the start of the regular season.
Oh man, now I'm even more depressed. Is there a way I can go into hibernation until September?. I hope that flight serves free drinks.