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Giants Offseason Schedule: OTAs begin ... so what is an OTA?

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What are teams allowed to do during the OTAs? We look at the guidelines and the schedule for the Giants over the next few weeks.

Tom Coughlin during training camp in 2013
Tom Coughlin during training camp in 2013
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants hold their first OTA Wednesday, and Connor Hughes has already given you a look at some of the things to watch for this week as the Giants practice together for the first time. Let's look at the OTA schedule for the Giants and the collectively bargained rules governing what teams can and cannot do during these voluntary workouts.

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13
Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

This is considered Phase Three of the NFL offseason program. Phase One was two weeks of strength, conditioning and physical rehab. Phase Two allowed on-field work on a "separates" basis -- no offense vs. defense or contact permitted. Here are the guidelines for Phase Three:

  • There are 10 OTAs allowed over a four-week period.
  • No live contact is permitted, but teams can run 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
  • Players will wear helmets, but no pads or shells.

The rules are designed with player safety in mind, but we know all too well that injuries -- and some contact -- will happen regardless. The Dallas Cowboys have already lost star middle linebacker Sean Lee for the season with a torn ACL, and the video from clearly shows contact between Lee and offensive lineman Zack Martin. Former Giant Domenik Hixon saw his career end Tuesday when he suffered a third torn ACL during the Chicago Bears first OTA.

During last year's initial OTA for the Giants fullback Henry Hynoski suffered a knee injury that cost him the entire preseason when he and running back Andre Brown accidentally collided. Two years ago wide receiver Hakeem Nicks broke his foot during OTAs.

OTAs are interesting and exciting. They signify something of a beginning of a buildup toward the upcoming season and after what seems like forever offer a first glimpse of what might be to come in the season ahead. No jobs will be won, however, and no decisions will be made. Truth is, as you should know already, the only real 'news' that can come out of the OTAs is bad news.

Giants' fans can only cross their fingers and hope they don't make any news over the next few weeks.

[UPDATE by Ed Valentine, 05/28/14 10:57 AM EDT: So much for being "out of spring ball." That certainly looks like Eli Manning (far right) taking snaps during the Giants first OTA on Wednesday morning.]