The Jets are practicing on two fields during their OTA's.
Todd Bowles sticking with his plan of using two fields during OTAs. Rookies, backups on far field during team period. #jetsota— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) May 27, 2015
Todd Bowles said he got the idea from his last boss.
I got it from Coach Arians last year in Arizona. With the number and amount of OTAs right now and the time you get to spend with them, they’re not going to get the reps if they’re just standing there watching the guys in front of them. So in order to get a fair assessment going into training camp, you try to get them as many reps as you can, so that’s the two fields. Just trying to get them caught up quicker.
Now you are probably thinking John B is writing a filler article as you read this, but I do actually have a point to make here. The latest collective bargaining agreement did a lot to limit to practice time teams get. This means less opportunities for coaches to help their players hone skills.
One of the reasons Chip Kelly receives praise is the efficiency of his practices.
Kelly’s chief commitment isn’t to running a no-huddle offense; his goal is for the Eagles to be a no-huddle organization. For Kelly, the benefits extend far beyond the effect on opposing defenses. "One of the benefits we have from practice and the no-huddle offense, where every period is no-huddle, is our second and third [teams] — and I’ve gone back and charted this — get almost twice as many reps as other teams I’ve been at when you’re sitting in the second or third spot," explained Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis, a longtime NFL veteran. That has a recruiting benefit when it comes to attracting backup players, which in turn helps the Eagles discover hidden gems. "If you’re [second or third string], you want to be in our camp because you get more reps than anyone else," said Kelly. "Because of the reps we get in practice, our guys get a chance to develop a little more. You go to some teams and the threes aren’t getting many reps — they are losing time compared to our guys."
Now compare all of this with what the Jets did a year ago on their last day of OTA's. Rex Ryan took the team bowling.
I didn't want to make a big deal out of it at the time because it is an easy kind of thing to sensationalize. It was not a huge deal. It was not the reason the Jets went 4-12. Still, it did not seem like an efficient use of the very limited practice time the team had in the offseason, particularly when the Jets were trying to prepare to help a second year quarterback to make a big leap. They only had 10 days of OTA's and a 3 day minicamp to prep Geno Smith. Was it really a good idea to burn one of those days bowling? Rex is a big believer in building camaraderie and chemistry. These things have their purpose. Couldn't he have gotten some of the leaders on the team to organize an outing and use the practice time, though?
The NFL is built to try and take advantages away from teams. The teams that win tend to find little advantages any way they can. Part of that is practicing the most efficient way possible so players maximize their respective talents. The practice habits discussed above make a small difference, but the small things do add up.