Seahawks Begin Phase Three of Offseason Programs, OTAs This Week

May 11, 2012; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll observes a special teams drill at a minicamp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

The offseason is rolling along smoothly and the Seahawks are already entering into the third and final phase of their offseason programs. The third phase lasts four weeks, and the Seahawks are scheduled for their first OTA starting Tuesday and lasting until Thursday. Their other two OTA sessions are scheduled for next week, May 30-June 1, and the week following, June 4-7. The Seahawks' veteran mini-camp is scheduled for June 12-14.

Under the new CBA, certain activities are limited at OTAs - per the actual language of the agreement, "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)."

That said, team offense vs defense drills are acceptable as long as there is no live contact, and in this the Seahawks will be able to install their playbooks on each side of the line.

At this point, each player should know most of the terminology and structure of their respective playbooks. Because time together as a team on the field during the new CBA offseason is valuable, the Hawks' staff cannot go about wasting time teaching each individual call, but instead the overall schemes are installed, run, corrected, and tweaked. Coaches are finally allowed to be on the field with the players, and knowing Pete Carroll's practice style, it's going to be a fast and furious couple of days and weeks getting everyone up to speed on the playcalls, schemes, formations, personnel groupings etc that go into the playbooks, which every Seahawk player should currently have on their iPad.

The team cameras will be on this week and the competitions for roster spots will begin in earnest. The roster sits at 90 right now but will have to be whittled down to 53 by the end of the preseason, and I'd imagine the Hawks will use every second of tape to start making their evaluations.

Matt Bowen put together a nice piece on the value of OTAs over at The National Football Post and described what he derived from the sessions. "As a player, I needed OTAs to work on my footwork, route reads, deep half drops, leg strength through functional football movements, etc. And that can be applied to every position. It is a great time to focus on technique and football conditioning for veterans. And for rookies it is the perfect time to get introduced to NFL speed during practice. I still remember the amount of legit speed (and talent) I saw in St. Louis as a rook vs. Warner, Faulk, Bruce, Holt, Hakeem and Prohel during spring workouts. Still the best offense I've ever been around."

The rookies have had their mini-camp and had a chance to get up to speed on the offensive playbook and defensive schemes, but now will have to get acclimated to 'NFL speed'. It will give them a chance to compete against the best players at each position and hopefully improve through that. Likewise, for the vets, they'll have a chance to get back into football shape and sharpen their minds to the new systems being put in place. We're currently entrenched in the doldrums of the offseason, but starting this week, things should begin to get a little more exciting.

Article 21, Section 2, Subsection b (iii) breaks down phase three. Here is that section:

(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 Subsec­tions 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 Ar­ticle.

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 permit­ted during Phase Three of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.

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