The acts of sitting in meetings and repeatedly going over individual drills certainly have value during the NFL offseason, but actually getting onto the practice field and starting the process of competing against the man across from you is hard to beat.
That's what the Indianapolis Colts got underway on Monday, when the team began Phase 3 of its offseason workout program, otherwise known as Organized Team Activities, or OTAs.
2016 Organized Team Activities (OTA) - Week 5 - #3
The differences between Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the offseason workout program are pretty simple: during Phase 3, players can get six hours to work per day, not four. And while players still aren't allowed to wear pads (outside of protective equipment and helmets) and live contact is not permitted, teams during OTAs are, for the first time, allowed to do 7-on-7s, 9-on-7s and 11-on-11 drills.
For the first two weeks of Phase 3, teams are allowed a maximum of three OTAs per week, and a fourth non-OTA workout is allowed, but Phase 2 rules apply. For the last two weeks of Phase 3, a team can have four OTAs one week and its mandatory minicamp the other week.
So with the first week of OTAs now completed for the Colts players and coaches, let's take a quick look back at some of the top quotes from the players and head coach Chuck Pagano about the experience, as well as anything else going on around the facility:
• "Attention to detail, the effort, the attitude of the players and the team is outstanding. I really love this group of guys. I think our coaches have done a tremendous job with these players." — Colts head coach Chuck Pagano on what he's seen so far during the offseason workout program.
• "There's an urgency to get better. The way this offseason is setup in the NFL, there's limited to go out and practice, so it's great to have just about everybody here. There is a sense of urgency. There is a sense of make this day count, make this rep count, make this two hours on the field count." — Quarterback Andrew Luck on the attitude of his team during non-mandatory workouts.
• "A new defensive coordinator, new language, new players. Everything, just hit the reset button every year. This is just as important as the regular season." — Outside linebacker Robert Mathis on getting everybody on the same page with new defensive coordinator Ted Monachino.
• The guys in that offensive line room have really taken me underneath their wing and are showing me stuff. … You know, they're going to hold me accountable, too, because at the end of the day, you have to do your job to let the guy next to you know that you're doing it right." — Center Ryan Kelly on continuing the process of getting acclimated as a rookie.
• "The older you get, the more you pay attention to the little things in your body and making sure you're doing all the right stuff, making different lists of goals and things you want to achieve, keeping your weight in check and doing all the little things. But, you know, it's kind of business as usual. You get excited about the start of a new season and a few new faces on the team, but the mission and the goal is still the same." — Kicker Adam Vinatieri on beginning his 21st NFL season.
• "I think it'll give us a little bit more freedom to be able to, you know, make judgement calls to your teammates, and just allow you to make plays and try to stop thinking as much and just read and react." — Outside linebacker Erik Walden on his first impressions of the new defense under Monachino.
• "It's very important because it's respect for my teammates who are here, especially just to show the young guys: it's not mandatory, but all the vets are here. That's a plus for the team. It lets you know what type of team we're trying to be, and what direction we're going in." — Running back Frank Gore on showing up for non-mandatory workouts as an established veteran.
• "It's gonna be fun. What we do now is we created multiple fronts up front for our D-line, because if we keep guys healthy, we can have a stout D-line. And I think it's going to help us down the road. And right now, it's still fun. I wouldn't be playing if it wasn't fun. It's like a chess game to me, and the more you know, the better you play, and the more everyone knows collectively, the better we play as a unit. So this is always a fun time." — Inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson on the work being put in by the defense during OTAs.
• "I'm here to compete either way. I'm just here to compete. You never know what's going to happen, but either way, my goal is to have a starting role in this offensive line." — Center Jonathan Harrison on being flexible to play multiple positions along the offensive line.
• "No, I haven't thought about it much to be honest with you. I'm grateful obviously and I'm thankful. I didn't want to be anywhere else. Again, I still take it one day at a time. I'm never going to lose that mindset." — Pagano on if this offseason feels any differently to him, and if he's relaxed after receiving a contract extension.