We’re not exactly on the cusp of training camp and the season is months away, but we’re still getting closer to 2022 Falcons football. The next step, after an offseason that saw the Falcons send longtime franchise quarterback Matt Ryan packing and significant roster turnover, is a set of organized team activities and minicamp that will bring the coaching staff and roster together to
Here’s a quick primer for what’s ahead.
What are OTAs?
One of the best explainers for this came from Matt Haley with the Falcons last year. Essentially, this is a full-team opportunity for practices, meetings, instruction and the like at Flowery Branch. From Haley’s writeup last year:
No live contact is allowed nor are one-on-one drills like pass rush, pass protection, or bump-and-run but the Falcons will run 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills with the offense and defense going up against each other for the first time.
Teams can use up to 10 days of OTAs spread out over a month, and the Falcons will be making full use of those days. That’s the sensible thing to do when you have new faces at every position on the roster and a lot of work to do to build a contender, as Atlanta undoubtedly does.
Read Haley’s article for a longer explanation of what’s ahead.
What do we learn from OTAs?
The coaches and players undoubtedly learned a lot, especially given that it was the first year with a new coaching staff and a lot of new faces. I’d expect that to be true this year too, with some dramatic changes to the roster and this team looking to at least stay in contention late into the year in 2022. You’ve got a ton of critical roster battles fast approaching, especially with this team needing to figure out who’s sticking around past this year and through a critical 2023 offseason.
As fans, though? Not as much. You’ll get some fun photos from practice and a few tantalizing reports of who looks good, but those don’t always pan out the way you’d hope. It’s good to enjoy the promising moments and any early updates on camp competitions, but obviously the groundwork the Falcons are laying for the months ahead is more important than the snatches of information we’ll get here and there.
Can I go watch?
No, OTAs are not open to the public. The team does sometimes open at least one minicamp session in June for fans to attend, however, so stay tuned for a potential announcement there.
When are the other sessions?
As a refresher, here’s the full list of offseason workouts and activities prior to training camp. After these are over, there will be a long break in between minicamp and training camp, so do enjoy the reports we’ll get in the coming weeks before the summer dead period truly starts.
OTA Session 1: May 24-26
OTA Session 2: June 1-3
OTA Session 3: June 6-9
Mandatory Minicamp: June 14-16