We're still months away from training camp and actual football games, but the Detroit Lions are set to hit the practice field on Tuesday to open their 2013 organized team activities. There are 10 OTAs in total, and the Lions have three this week: one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday.
While OTAs are far from full practices, they at least allow veterans and rookies to come together to get on-field instruction and participate in drills. They're sort of like an appetizer to training camp. We'll get a brief taste of on-field news, but the main course will have to wait until the summer.
Part of the reason this is merely a preview of things to come is because there are limitations on what can take place during an OTA. Pro Football Talk has the details:
OTAs are voluntary workouts. On-field coaching instruction is allowed, but live contact is prohibited. Per the CBA, prohibited contact includes "blocking, tackling, pass rushing [and] bump-and-run" situations. Players can wear helmets, elbow pads and knee pads, but OTAs are not to be fully padded practices.
Some offense vs. defense team drills are allowed during OTAs; for instance, 11-on-11 drills can be conducted. Some special teams work is also allowed. However, no one-on-one workouts can occur, such as a receiver competing against a cornerback.
With the 11-on-11 drills, I'm most looking forward to seeing who is part of the first team at positions like offensive tackle, linebacker and cornerback. Obviously the depth chart is far from set, but we should still get a pretty good idea of where things stand as these position battles start to heat up.
What are you planning to keep an eye on as the Lions' OTAs begin?