June is here, and so has Cleveland Browns football!
Well, sort of.
While the start of the regular season is still a few months away, OTAs are underway for the summer.
#Brown holding the OTA practice today at team headquarters. Tomorrow’s session will be the first OTA of this offseason open to media.
– Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) June 1, 2021
These practices have been at the center of some unnecessary drama in recent years.
Although these practices are listed as “voluntary”, players are generally expected to attend, except in the event of contractual disputes or something of that nature.
That mindset changed a bit over the past year with COVID-19 in the background and activities being delayed or canceled altogether.
This summer will likely produce more controversy between players, teams and their fans.
Who goes for the Browns?
As the first day of media availability is not before Wednesday, we will have to wait another day for really find out who attends OTAs for Cleveland.
So far a star, defensive end Myles Garrett, was noted as present on Tuesday.
#Brown will allow the media to drive OTA tomorrow. I’m not sure which vets have reported at this point. Myles Garrett said he was coming.
– Tom Withers (@twithersAP) June 1, 2021
It seems to fit the mold of Garrett who has been a workaholic since day one in Northeast Ohio.
Baker Mayfield was reportedly absent from practice on Tuesday, but nothing is official about that.
#Brown QB Baker Mayfield was not present at OTA today, per source.
– Brad Stainbrook (@BrownsByBrad) June 1, 2021
For youngsters trying to make an impact in the league, showing up for OTAs is usually in their best interest.
It’s not the end of a career, but attending “voluntary” events will never be bad.
The main question is whether or not the stars of the team will show up.
Odell beckham Jr. has collected much of this conversation since joining the Browns.
In the summer of 2019, OBJ dropped out of OTAs after day one, which former coach Freddie Kitchens publicly opposed.
1/2) Freddie Kitchens on Odell Beckham Jr. leaving after OTA Browns practice. “Look, I never disputed that it’s not important for him to be here. But it’s also important for him to be mentally ready to be here …
– Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) May 15, 2019
With last summer thrown in the league-wide trash, speculation about attendance will have to be answered during this week.
Does it matter?
Opinions about the importance of OTA will almost always differ depending on who you talk to.
Despite the Kitchens explosion in 2019, the majority of coaches don’t seem to weigh too heavily on the matter.
Maybe in private there is a passion for these sessions, but most coaches fail to make it known publicly.
The reasoning why players don’t fall in love with OTAs has been clarified.
Most players keep in great shape when away from the team and enjoy the extra time with friends and family.
Would the extra reps and time spent with teammates be beneficial?
Maybe, but the negative attitude towards OTAs can make that questionable.
The Packers, for example, have so far missed most of their offensive stars.
Considering the offseason drama they’ve endured, maybe it’s for the best.
Aaron Rodgers wasn’t the only Packer absent at today’s team events; just like the top five WRs in Green Bay: Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess and Equanimeous St. Brown. Jordan Love therefore had to work with a makeshift team from WR.
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 25, 2021
As tradition has it, the overreaction to OTAs will come from a certain sect of social media.
It also goes both ways, as stars shouldn’t be showered with praise on others for showing up to these practices.
It doesn’t seem likely that Myles Garrett would parade around Baker Mayfield to be at OTA.
When the ball is kicked on the opening weekend, debates over who turned up in early June become irrelevant.