The Atlanta Falcons have done most of the roster building work they have to do this year, and now we’re on the cusp of the kind of full team on-field activities that lead up to training camp and then the season.
There will be the dread dead zones in there, times when nothing is going on and we’re left to wait until training camp, but we’re a few weeks away from that. At the moment, organized team activities are the next item on the schedule, so we’ll break those down and take a quick look at what’s after that for the Falcons.
Organized team activities (OTAs)
What are OTAs?
One of the best explainers for this came from Matt Haley with the Falcons back in 2021. Essentially, this is a full-team opportunity for practices, meetings, instruction and the like at Flowery Branch, the first one of the 2023 league year for Atlatna. From Haley’s writeup:
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 have scheduled up their full 10. That’s a must with a second-year quarterback, a ton of young talent on the roster, a brand new defensive coordinator, and new faces from the team’s huge free agency spending spree.
What do we learn from OTAs?
If you’re the team, probably plenty. You’ll get a chance to tinker with Bijan Robinson as a receiver, see how healthy recovering players like Kyle Pitts and Ta’Quon Graham are live and on the field, and start putting together a new-look defense. Those 10 days will give you an opportunity to start working out what you want to do in the year ahead and give early clues as to how roster battles will unfold.
As fans, we don’t learn much; we’re just excited the Falcons are starting this thing up. Stay tuned for snippets and photos from the field, along with a tidbit or two about how players look and what the team is planning to do with some of their most versatile pieces, but most of the major updates about this team’s fortunes are in July and beyond.
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, which includes the mandatory minicamp where everyone on the 90 man roster should be showing up.
OTA Session 1: May 23-25
OTA Session 2: May 31-June 2
OTA Session 3: June 6-9
Mandatory Minicamp: June 13-15
What’s next on the schedule after that?
Training camp follows after the long, slow period from mid-June to late July. We don’t have confirmed training camp dates yet despite having the preseason and regular season schedule, but the team usually announces those by sometime in June.
After that, we’re into preseason, roster cutdowns from 90 to 53 players are due in on August 29, and then the regular season starts. We’re closer than you think to finally getting to see this team in action.