TEMPE, Ariz. — Organized Team Activities, or “OTAs” as they’re affectionately known, serve a purpose.
An optional get together of sorts, most teams expect participation to be near 100 percent over the three week-long event.
Minus a few veterans here and there, the Arizona Cardinals had that, and when kicker Chandler Catanzaro booted a field goal through the uprights Thursday, everyone got to go home early as OTAs officially came to a close.
“We’ve been having outstanding participation and outstanding effort,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “We started out great practice today. Chandler struggled; he missed a game-winner earlier in the week. He missed three out of four down there.”
Arians said the goal was to see if undrafted free agent had anything.
“There’s no more pressure than peer pressure, and he knocked it down the pipe. That told me a lot about him, and he passed a pretty good test for his peers.”
Catanzaro is one of three kickers the team currently has on the roster and would appear to be a longshot to make the team. But he finished OTAs on a high note, which left an impression on the coaching staff.
But doing well in this setting will only get you so far, as everyone will tell you that until the players put on pads and start hitting each other, it’s tough to really get a feel for what someone can do.
“It’s mostly assignments and competition, especially amongst the skill players,” Arians said of what is to gain from OTAs.
And if nothing else, the last few weeks offered a chance to get an early look what figure to be the team’s more notable competitions going forward. Who will emerge as the right tackle between Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell and Nate Potter?
“We’re going to keep throwing all three guys in there and see who comes out on top,” Arians said. “Bobby’s done very well, Bradley is inconsistent and Nate is probably the smartest of the three, it’s just a matter of physically holding up.”
It also gives the coaches an early peek at some of their first-year players. When asked who stood out among the rookies, Arians was quick to point to receiver John Brown.
“He’s way ahead of most rookies, and coming from a small school that’s unusual,” he said. “But it doesn’t overwhelm him at all. He learns fast and he can apply it fast.”
Of course, the real test for Brown and everyone else will be to do it when the pads are on and people are getting hit, which won’t happen until the team starts training camp in a little more than a month.
But until that time comes, all anyone can do is get the most out of what they’re allowed to do.