Raiders stripped of valuable OTA time

June, 9, 2010
6/09/10
6:30
PM ET
The Oakland Tribune has reported the NFL and NFLPA have released a joint statement, announcing that the Raiders will lose two OTA days next week.

Via the Tribune, here are the contents of the e-mail: “The NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association have resolved a dispute concerning the Oakland Raiders’ off-season workout program. As a result, the parties have agreed to cancel two days of the Raiders’ off-season program (next Wednesday and Thursday, June 16 and 17) which had previously been designated as OTA days. Raiders’ players are not permitted to be at the facility on those days, but will be paid for the sessions. The club cannot reschedule the cancelled OTA days.”

Earlier in the week, Baltimore lost some OTA days after players reported issues. This is likely what happened in Oakland. Only players would know if the team broke the rules during the OTA. The Raiders lost some OTA days in 2007 when Lane Kiffin was the coach. Current Oakland head coach Tom Cable was an assistant on that staff.

Potential rule violations include having contact or having the players on the field too long.

Courtesy of Mike Sando’s NFC West blog, here is an in-depth look at possible violations per the collective bargaining agreement:

The CBA also spells out rules as such:
  • No pads except protective knee or elbow pads. Helmets are permitted.
  • No live contact; no live contact drills between offensive and defensive linemen.
  • 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills will be permitted, providing no live contact takes place.
  • The NFL will monitor all Clubs during the off-season to ensure player safety and adherence to live contact guidelines.
  • Maximum six hours per day, with a maximum two hours on field, for any player.
  • Contact work (e.g., "live" blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run) is expressly prohibited in all off-season workouts.

The loss of two OTA days is not devastating, but it’s not great, either. OTA days are set up for a reason and that’s to give teams extra work before training camp. Oakland is a young team and it needs all the work it can get. The extra time is especially important as new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and new quarterback Jason Campbell try to build an on-field rapport.

It also takes two days from exciting third-year receiver Chaz Schilens. He returned Wednesday from an offseason foot surgery. He was expected to be out until training camp. It would have been good for Schilens to work with Campbell for two extra days. Still, the big picture in Schilens case is that he appears ahead of schedule and he should be fine once camp starts.

As for how the loss of two OTA days affects the entire team, I think, when the regular season starts, the Raiders shouldn’t be hamstrung because it lost two days in June.

Still, I’m sure Oakland’s brass is disappointed that some players felt it was necessary to point out violations. Oakland has been in a seven-year funk. You would think players would be on board for trying to get better, even in June.

But the rules are the rules, so if Oakland’s staff violated the rules, it will have to live with this penalty.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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