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May 23, 2010 - Mike McLain

I wonder what Paul Brown and Vince Lombardi would have thought of OTA (organized training activity) practices that teams are going through now.

Being that they were coaches, they probably would have welcomed the idea of having the players available on the field for 12 practices (excluding the three-day minicamp). Coaches can never get in enough practice time, which is why they like OTAs.

I'm not sure players share the same opinion. Combined with the weight conditioning that begins in March, there isn't much of an offseason. Players on teams that appear in the Super Bowl have a litlte more than one month of down time before it's back to work.

OTAs seem like a little bit of overkill. By the time the Browns finish their minicamp on June 13, players will have about six weeks before training camp begins. Football is a physically demanding sport. that requires a lot of down time after the season for players to refuel their batteries.

The bottom line is that the league likes OTAs. They mean more stories written about each of the 32 teams, which keeps the NFL in the news at a time when the basketball and hockey playoffs are nearing an end and baseball's pennant races are heating up.

Do the practices actually help? They're good for young players like Browns receiver Brian Robiskie, who had a terrible rookie season. The more work he can get in now, the chances are better he might begin realizing his potential next season.

They're also good for someone like Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme. He needs to get a feel for his new teammates and a new offense. The added practice time can only help.

As for established players that have been in the system for a long time, the practices are undoubtedly a nusance. Their goal is to escape the practices without getting hurt.



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