OTAs are in full swing over the next few weeks, and it's only natural for fans to get excited. After all, it's been over three months since we've seen any on-field football activity, and just about everybody has exhausted their hot takes about free agency and the draft. Things have been so barren that even DeflateGate is back in the news. Seeing players running around on a football field doing football things is a welcome sight in these dark times.
Plenty of silly things are happening during OTAs, and since beat writers are as bored as the rest of us, those silly things tend to get turned into actual news. Even the important news stuff (like the extent of Tyler Eifert's injury) has an air of absurdity to it, given the circumstances.
So let's take a look at the weirdest, most bizarre talking points from the week so far.
The Bills don't want reporters to report about things
Most NFL teams have restrictions on what the media can cover in practice. It just comes with the territory. However, the Buffalo Bills took things a step further in this year's OTAs, essentially banning reporters from doing reporting things.
Bills begin OTAs today. Reporters are not allowed to tell you who dropped a pass or who threw an interception. pic.twitter.com/TCGVgUtUI0— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 24, 2016
Naturally, this led to Bills beat writers coming up with creative ways to describe plays, each one more gloriously passive-aggressive than the last.
Cornerback Corey White caught a pass that was not intended for him during team drills. #Bills— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) May 24, 2016
A Bills quarterback with a jersey number that is the square root of 25 threw a football that missed its intended target.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 24, 2016
The last pass of day by a quarterback not named Taylor or Jones was intercepted by a player wearing a jersey with the absolute value of -50.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 24, 2016
There was another interception thrown by a QB not named Taylor or Jones, intercepted by a linebacker who wasn't so sold on the wings.— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) May 24, 2016
Even offensive guard Richie Incognito got in on the fun.
Not sure if I'm supposed to be tweeting this with the new media policy but since we started practice there are cookies in the lunch room.— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) May 24, 2016
These are ridiculous restrictions even by the usual standards of NFL teams. The common line of defense is "competitive advantage," but when everybody is running around in shorts and T-shirts in the middle of May, who gives a damn? Just tell us what's going on.
This is my 38th year covering the NFL. I've asked many, many coaches to give me one instance in which media won or lost a game. None could.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) May 24, 2016
The Bucs are serious about the weather
Florida weather has a lot in common with the people of Florida -- it's hot, sticky, kinda unpleasant and a random outburst could wipe out everything at any given moment.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan on building an indoor practice facility in the future, but for now they're subject to the whims of Mother Nature (or worse, Florida Mother Nature). So it makes sense that they would keep a close eye on the weather during practice, but you'd think they can come up more sophisticated analysis than this.
Koetter said Bucs researched temperatures and found it 11 degrees cooler at 8:45 a.m. compared to 2:45 in afternoon ...— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 24, 2016
In summary, the Bucs found that the temperature is cooler in the morning than it is in the afternoon. Brilliant breakdown, Tampa. Next you'll tell us that dark clouds are the cause of heavy rain.
Today in "The Pro Bowl sucks and is stupid"
Nobody likes the Pro Bowl, but you can't fault the players for at least taking a little pride in themselves and trying. Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was one such player, and he picked up an ankle injury in the game for his troubles. We all assumed that the injury was minor, but on Tuesday it was reported that Eifert will need surgery and be out for three months, putting him in doubt for Week 1.
Bengals' Tyler Eifert will have ankle surgery this week, as @JimOwczarski reported. Start of 2016 season for Eifert in jeopardy, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 24, 2016
The weird part about this story is that it's being called a "minimal" surgery. If that's what's keeping players out for three months, I wonder what a "major" ankle surgery entails. An amputation?
In the meantime, can we just get rid of the Pro Bowl already? It's not even being held in Hawaii anymore, so that takes away the one interesting thing about it. With Eifert's injury and the terrifying prospect of having to spend a week in Orlando, we could see even more voted-in players pull out. Hope y'all are ready for Pro Bowl Quarterback Blaine Gabbert next year.
Antonio Brown is somehow getting faster
By now everybody knows that Antonio Brown is a superhuman athlete, but that wasn't always common knowledge. During the 2010 Combine he ran a 4.47 40 time -- not bad by any means, but it was a factor towards him dropping to the sixth round.
Well, Brown did what Brown does best, which is blow away expectations. He's even gotten faster after six years, at least according to his Twitter account.
Ran a 4.35/40 today.— Antonio Brown (@AntonioBrown84) May 24, 2016
Yeah, it's an unofficial time, and coming from Brown's account there's no way to verify it. But if you watched any of Brown's highlights in recent years, would that 40 time really surprise you?
The only surprise here is that he didn't do better on Dancing With the Stars.
Random Chiefs notes
This is Mitch Mathews, an undrafted rookie from BYU. Look at that lanky frame. He's listed at 6'6 and 222 pounds, which explains why he looks like Gumby in that picture. I hope he makes the team and does well just so we can make more Gumby references in our NFL articles.
Remember De'Anthony Thomas? Tiny speedster, was awesome at Oregon, has a bizarre, fascinating Twitter account? Thomas' NFL career has been pretty nondescript so far, but it's always a joy seeing him in OTAs and training camp. You see him breaking off highlight reel plays in shorts, think, "Man, I remember that guy. He was awesome at Oregon" and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy for a moment. Then the regular season starts and you go back to forgetting about him.