The original plan for this week called for two OTAs and a three-day minicamp, which would have given Lions players a lot of time to get coached up before the upcoming month-long vacation. The offense would have almost been fully installed, and rookies would have gained even more experience before they take the next month off before returning to Allen Park for training camp.
Because the NFL made the Lions forfeit their final OTAs, the only thing on the docket this week is the three-day minicamp that began today. While it will still be good for players to spend a few extra days on the field and to get a taste of training camp, Jim Schwartz is really unhappy with the loss of the two originally-scheduled OTAs, especially because of how the NFL "flagged" the Lions in the first place.
"The league called and asked for film. They actually saw a headline in one of our newspapers that said 'Suh and Peterman battle it out in OTA's' and they flagged that and said 'Hey, we want to see the practice film' " Schwartz said. "I assume they were looking for one-on-ones and things like that, which you're not allowed to do with the offense and defensive lineman, which we weren't doing. It took them a long time, almost a month, because it was the first practice with rookies.
"Generally that's going to happen. The first practice with rookies is going to be more guys on the ground and its going to be a little bit looser because you have rookies that are trying to make a good first impression and you have veterans that don't want to be beaten by a rookie. They looked at that practice and didn't like the looks of it."
More from Schwartz after the jump.
"We've had 14 (OTA practices) last year and 12 this year, so 26 OTA practices. I had two minicamps last year and we had zero injuries in those practices other than hamstrings, groins and calf's. Player safety is important to us and guys do practice hard, but we've had a good track record of staying pretty healthy," he said.
"They just generally said that practice was too intense. The pace of practice was too intense. I'll tell you what, I'm extremely proud of our offseason program. I think that if I was a player I'd want to be in this offseason program. I'm just most disappointed for some of our players. Not our established players, but our young guys that are trying to make the team and trying to improve as football players. They were denied the opportunity to be able to go out and improve as a football player."
I have to side with Schwartz on this one. No, OTAs are not supposed to be too physical or too intense, but what does the NFL expect? Coaches' jobs are on the line, as are roster spots for players. Every single day people are going to want to work as hard they can to get a leg up on the competition. During the offseason, that means preparing your team as much as possible if you're a coach and trying to impress the coaches as much as possible if you're a player.
If the NFL truly wants to combat OTAs being too intense, then they should just get rid of them. No matter what the rules say, unless the NFL strictly enforces them by watching every second of every teams' practices, there is no way that teams will follow the guidelines 100%. It's just not a realistic expectation, and singling out teams randomly, in part because of a newspaper headline, is just stupid.