NFL Offseason Workouts Commence For Teams With New Head Coaches

The Seahawks will have to wait two weeks from Monday, April 16th, before they're allowed to begin their voluntary offseason workouts, but teams with new coaching staffs - specifically a new head coach - are now officially able to get started, according to Article 21 of the new NFL CBA.

These teams with new coaches can get started today and the basic rundown of the offseason program for each team is as follows:

Offseason workout programs for teams with new coaches can run for nine weeks within a 12-week period. The other teams have a 10-week window with which to get in nine weeks. The programs cannot exceed four days a week and must be conducted Monday through Friday. Offseason workout programs have three phases with different rules for each. They are based on strength and conditioning, individual instruction and organized team activities.

According to the good people at SB Nation Bay Area, the offseason programs are built into three phases:

Phase One: the first phase's primary goal is for trength and conditioning and/or injury rehab. Strength and conditioning coaches will work with the players on the field but regular position coaches are not allowed. This isn't a traditional practice - more akin to a group workout with a little bit of guidance from strength coaches. No pads.

Phase Two: the second phase is typically three weeks, and brings in coaches and on-field workouts. The teams are allowed to bring all coaches but are not allowed to wear pads or helmets, (non-hitting practice). This is a way for teams to team on-field schematics and principles without instructing on hitting and all that.

Phase Three: the third phase, which covers the four weeks, is where the famous Organized Team Activities (OTAs) come in. These are more like traditional practice with helmets but they're not full contact, as players don't wear pads. Again, used for getting acclimated back into football without the physical rigors of full-contact.

In late July or early August, training camp begins in earnest, and teams are allowed to start hitting and practicing in full pads again.

Here is the official language on the CBA, concerning off-season workouts and OTAs.

If a Club hires a new head coach after the end of the prior regular season, that Club may schedule or conduct an offseason workout program for no more than nine total weeks, with eight of the weeks required to be consecutive and subject to Article 22, Section 3, to be completed over a twelve-week period. All other Clubs may schedule or conduct offseason workout programs for no more than nine consecutive total weeks, to be completed over a ten-week period. In either case, Clubs may schedule no more than four workouts per week for any individual player. Such workout programs shall not be permitted on weekends.

(b) Each Club's official nine-week offseason workout program shall be conducted in three phases, as follows:

(i) Phase One. Phase One shall consist of the first two weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. ... 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 ... during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity ("OTAs" or "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 ... 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.

For more on NFL Offseason workouts and OTAs, head over to SB Nation's NFL hub or head to Field Gulls for Seahawks' specific coverage.

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