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Offseason | 2023

Mailbag: Is Missing OTAs Really A Big Deal?


I know most of the players attend, but OTAs are voluntary so is it a big deal if they don't? Do they fall behind? Do coaches or even teammates look down on it?Harold Smith/Memphis, TN

Nick Eatman: Like anything in life, this question is probably answered differently depending on who you ask? Any coach that wants as much on-field time with the players as possible ... they'll say YES a thousand times. Ask a player who is a solidified starter and veteran, and the answer is probably like "not really." But for some players who are trying to work their way onto the roster, the OTAs are some of the biggest times of the year because it's live reps that aren't guaranteed come training camp. But since you're asking me, I'll meet in the middle somewhere. I think yes, they're important to the overall installation of the offense and defense. And in a year like this where a new offense is being used, then it's probably more important than others. But in the grand scheme of things, if there was a practice or two that these guys are going to miss, I think we would probably pick to right now.

Kurt: Whether it's a big deal or not likely depends on the player. If a proven veteran decides to sit out, that's one thing. But it could be an entirely different story if Dak Prescott, who the whole offense revolves around, or a young player making a position switch like Josh Ball doesn't show up. Of course, while the coaches might not necessarily look down on it, and would likely never say so publicly, they are surely disappointed when any player isn't on hand. They're trying to build a winning team and to do so they need everyone on the field and in the classroom as much as possible to learn the system, especially with new wrinkles to the offense coming. And as far as the players, again if a guy like Prescott doesn't attend, a newcomer needing reps with his quarterback like Brandin Cooks might privately question it, but fortunately, with the leadership that QB1 consistently displays, that's not a problem for the Cowboys.

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