The Las Vegas Raiders voted not to attend their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) this offseason. A few players wished they had that opportunity to showcase their skills to keep a spot on the main roster.
Veteran quarterback Drew Stanton knows precisely how important it is to have OTAs and take advantage of every possible rep. Stanton was one of those players who needed extra time to develop into an NFL-ready quarterback.
Stanton is a long time friend with Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven's Editor and Publisher Hondo Carpenter and recently joined him on the Radio, co-hosting with Clay Baker on the "Pritch & Clay" morning show on Raider Nation Radio (LINK TO LISTEN LIVE),
There have been a lot of changes across the NFL since Stanton's rookie season. Stanton explains how the NFL has changed regarding team activities and developing players throughout the offseason.
"I think it's changed in so many ways, and foremost, I think being a rookie that needed time to develop and time to acclimate. There isn't that anymore--I find with the old collective bargaining agreement, you had a chance to kind of go there, or they weren't just gonna throw you to the wayside when things didn't work out. Especially playing quarterback position, there's an approach, there's a way that you go about it, to feel prepared especially as a backup," Stanton said about how limited things are today regarding team activities.
Stanton, drafted in the second round, 43rd overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2007 NFL Draft, knew he would be on the bottom of the depth chart. During his arrival, he also knew he needed a little more time to develop confidence and skills as a quarterback in the NFL. Under the old CBA, he had timeless time to acclimate, far more reps during practice, and far fewer restrictions than the new CBA.
"You know some guys have the luxury to be a starter from day one and go in there and get every rep and learn and do that and those guys can process faster. But it just wasn't the case for me, so I kind of got put behind the 8-ball but then it took, you know, we'd be having people show up like Scott Linehan and Jim Schwartz to kind of believe in me and gave me that confidence needed to go out there and play," Stanton said on how coming in as a starter since day one and having the right coaches helps accelerate the process of getting the confidence and acclimation needed to play in the NFL.
Starters and players who have been with a team for over a year understand that OTAs are not needed. The same goes for starters going out there for several series during pre-season games.
Most athletes are getting prepared through other training modes and relying more on sports science and other offseason programs not mandatory with the team.
"It's become a year-round type of thing, but the players are trying to take more ownership back because they saw that the window of opportunity opens as far as offseason programming and doing things for sports science. I've seen, too, that there's such an awareness for all of these things as far as keeping track of guys, miles per hour and you see analytics starting to play a role that the game is evolving and guys are just getting bigger, faster, stronger in every regard," Stanton said of how players prefer to do their offseason programs rather team activities.
Regardless of what players are deciding what to do during the offseason, many players do not have the luxury to lock up a roster spot and go to other offseason programs. Most of those players rely on OTAs and building team chemistry to earn a spot on the roster.
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