The San Francisco 49ers return from Memorial Day weekend ready to take the next big step toward the start of the 2014 season. The 49ers enter the second half of their offseason workout program, and they enter possibly the most significant portion of the program: Organized team practice activities.
OTAs mark the start of Phase 3 of the program, at which point the team can engage in team offense vs. team defense drills. Phase 1 consisted entirely of strength, conditioning and rehab work. Phase 2 allowed for individual coaching and "perfect play" drills in which only the offense or only the defense were on the field. With Phase 3, the team can really start to implement changes to the offense, and teach rookies and recent additions about the playbook.
The 49ers can conduct ten days worth of OTAs, and then a mandatory minicamp at the end. The OTAs will take place May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10 and June 12-13. The mandatory minicamp will take place June 17-19. OTAs have the following rules in place:
- No live contact is permitted.
- No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted).
- Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs.
- Team offense vs. team defense drills, including 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs.
- Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permitted during Phase 3 of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.
Nothing is mandatory until the June 17-19 minicamp. The 49ers will conduct these first three days of OTAs, with media availability scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Between now and then we'll get a better idea of who is on hand for the OTAs, and who has decided to stay home. However, I suspect we can expect most of the team to be on hand for the start of the OTAs.
Once the 49ers get through their OTAs and minicamp, we hit the next lull in activity. Training camp gets started on approximately July 23, with the first preseason game scheduled for August 7 against the Baltimore Ravens. That month between the offseason workout program and training camp can be dull, but the past couple years has led to something stupid. Last year, Colin Kaepernick had to deal with the stupid Dolphins hat nonsense. The year before, Aldon Smith had his infamous house party. Let's hope this summer brings NOTHING. Well, maybe a contract extension or two, but other than that...NOTHING.