The NFL is slowly gearing back up, as teams are officially beginning the road to Super Bowl 48. Teams with returning coaching staffs can being their "voluntary" offseason workout programs today, starting with two weeks of conditioning work. Teams with new coaches were allowed to start earlier this month. I still think the 49ers should petition for the extra weeks Jim Harbaugh lost during the lockout. Clearly it was necessary!
The first two weeks will feature basic conditioning work, as the only coaches allowed on the field are strength and conditioning coaches who have no other coaching responsibilities with the team. After the first two weeks, things will pick up a bit as Phase Two will allow for all coaches on the field, as well as some more pertinent drills.
Things will get even further organized with ten days of OTAs and minicamps in May and June. The 49ers will conduct their OTAs May 21-23, May 28-30 and June 3-6. The team will also have a rookie minicamp after the draft. All rookies are allowed in the rookie minicamp, but the OTAs require rookies be finished with their spring semester or fourth quarter of school.
Here is a rundown of the three phases of the offseason workout programs. Much of this qualifies as "voluntary", but obviously "voluntary" can often be better stated as "volun-told".
(i) Phase One. Phase One shall consist of the first two weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, Phase One activities shall be limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. During Phase One, only full time or part-time strength and conditioning coaches, who have no other coaching responsibilities with the Club, shall be allowed on the field; no other coaches shall be allowed on the field or to otherwise participate in or observe activities. No footballs shall be permitted to be used (only "dead ball" activities), except that quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers provided they are not covered by any other player. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase One.
(ii) Phase Two. Phase Two shall consist of the next three weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, during Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play" drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a "separates" basis (e.g.., kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team). No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense vs. defense drills are permitted (e.g.., no one-on-one 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.) Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.
(iii) Phase Three. Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsec tions 5(a) and 5(c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity ("OTAs" or "OTA days"). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5(b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days of OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2(b)(ii) of this Ar ticle. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. 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 all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permit ted during Phase Three of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.