clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Everything is just great at OTAs around the NFL

Eric Decker isn't with the Jets right now, reportedly because he wants Ryan Fitzpatrick to get paid.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Offseason training activities (OTAs) aren't particularly thrilling. More than anything, it's about new players and rookies learning how to practice under new coaches with different teammates. When players report for training camp at the end of the summer, the competition for roster spots will really heat up.

But the NFL hype train rolls on anyway with reports about how players look in the unpadded practices. Things like a strict media policy in Buffalo and weird weather research in Tampa Bay grab headlines in May because there really just isn't much else going on.

So when players choose to miss OTAs, it grabs attention, especially when it's out of solidarity for a teammate. But other than that, OTAs are mostly nothing but positivity:

Everything is awesome

After free agency and the NFL Draft, almost every team is able to tell its fans that they improved the squad from the year prior. The new additions will definitely take the team to the playoffs and the players that were already on the roster have improved and are ready to have their best season ever.

In a practice report on Washington's team site, the defense was described as "really strong," Kirk Cousins looked "sharp throughout," DeAngelo Hall "looked particularly agile," Matt Jones "executed a perfect spin move," and ... well ... you get the point.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who has struggled with multiple collarbone injuries, says that the last two months have been the best stretch he's had in a long time, and the Miami Dolphins are even complimenting Ryan Tannehill on the way he handles his business.

Even No. 1 pick Jared Goff is getting praised by Los Angeles Rams coaches, and the team's first practice hasn't even happened yet.

Everything is amazing, your team is Super Bowl-bound and the OTAs are proof.

Basically, the whole Jets offense is gone

Ryan Fitzpatrick is still a free agent, which means the quarterback situation for the New York Jets still isn't settled. It seems like a matter of time before the 33-year-old passer is back with the Jets, as contract talks are still ongoing. But the team is treading water until then with Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty taking snaps.

Those young quarterbacks don't have many targets to throw to or the same protection up front, though. Both Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall are sitting out, and the offensive line doesn't feature Nick Mangold handling snaps.

For Decker, the decision to sit out is a show of solidarity:

That's not the case for Marshall or Mangold, though.

But shh ... nobody tell Todd Bowles why Decker isn't there:

Decker and Marshall combined for 189 receptions, 2,529 yards and 26 of the 33 touchdown receptions hauled in by Jets receivers last season. Until they're out there on the practice field, it's not quite the real Jets offense taking reps. It's also a unit that no longer has D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Chris Ivory or Willie Colon, so Geno and co. are working with an offense that looks much different than the one that was on the field in 2015.

Reporters are annoying players

The thirst for NFL news from fans keeps reporters working all year long, but there isn't much to talk about in May. Sometimes that means the questions players get are repetitive and, eventually, get tiresome to keep answering.

In Buffalo, the solution to annoying sports writers was to bar them from saying anything substantial about the Bills. The new media policy has since been decried as ridiculous, and the media in Buffalo has continued to report on practices just as they always did, except now with a healthy dose of sarcasm and mocking tones.

But in every other media market, things have rolled on as usual, with questions that are getting on players' nerves:

Give them a break, fellas. What else is there to talk about this time of year?