Steelers OTAs Primer
The NFL will begin the next phase of its offseason program on Tuesday, when teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, will report for OTAs.
OTAs, short for organized team activities, is the third phase of the offseason training program. The first involves players gathering for meeting and workouts, but no on-the-field drills. The second has the team’s young players and rookies only take part in rookie minicamp.
OTAs will have everyone, with all 90 players on the offseason invited. But participation is not mandatory. Some players, especially veterans, will choose not to take part. Others will participate, but only in select drills or activities.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT OTAs
The Steelers players will add on-field work to their schedule of meetings and fitness activities, with one practice session per day for 10 days over three weeks. The Steelers will practice May 24-26, May 21-June 2 and June 6-9.
All players are invited to participate, but attendance is optional.
The coaches will install the playbook on offense, defense and special teams. Many new coaches will get their first hands-on experience with Steelers players.
The team will do individual drills by position, 1 on 1 drills, and 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 team drills, much like it does during regular season practices.
Players and coaches will speak with the media after practices, many of them for the first time as Steelers. The team will also have an open locker room for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT WON’T HAPPEN AT OTAS
There will not be any full-contact or hitting periods at practice. Linemen can grapple and defensive backs and receivers will still be battling one another to get the ball, so it’s not completely non-contact, but the environment is designed to be as injury-free as possible.
It’s likely that some players will choose not attend all of the sessions. Players are not specifically paid for attending OTAs, with relatively few exceptions.
Relatively few decisions about personnel groupings, position battles, etc. will be made. The Steelers consider OTAs more about learning than a true competition.