The Kansas City Chiefs offseason program starts ... now!
April 1 is the day teams with new head coaches can start their offseason program. It's not much -- mostly conditioning stuff -- but hey it's something! Our friends across the parking lot will be starting their season today as the Kansas City Royals visit the Chicago White Sox today (and then immediately have a day off ... baseball everyone!). But we can still reasonably claim that football is back with the start of the offseason program. OK, maybe not reasonably. But it's something.
The Chiefs have OTAs scheduled for May 14-16, May 21-23 and May 28-31. Voluntary minicamp comes on April 16-18 while mandatory minicamp comes on June 4-6. Even though these are "voluntary" workouts, almost everyone will attend, especially with a new coach. Coaches have their way of making it known they should be there without expressly breaking any rules on the "voluntary" portion of this.
For new head coaches, the offseason program can't start before the first Monday in April. Today is Monday, April 1, so Andy Reid and the Chiefs got lucky with the schedule. The rest of the teams can't start before the third Monday in April.
There are three phases to the offseason program. Phase one, which lasts two weeks, is essentially strength and conditioning. Phase two, which lasts three weeks, gets the players out on the field with some individual instruction from coaches but no full-blown offense vs. defense practices. Phase three is the series of OTAs and those are the closest thing you'll get to a normal practice, but with no live contact occurring. The Chiefs offseason program will end on June 6, at which point we'll be awaiting training camp.
The most important part of this is that the players will be coming into the building for the Chiefs. Many of the assistant coaches, and even the head coach, have yet to meet some of the players so they can now start talking to them. That's the biggest takeaway from what today's date means.
Here are the relevant portions from the CBA on the offseason program for those of you nerds who enjoy reading things written like this:
(i) Phase One. Phase One shall consist of the first two weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, Phase One activities shall be limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. During Phase One, only full-time or part-time strength and conditioning coaches, who have no other coaching responsibilities with the Club, shall be allowed on the field; no other coaches shall be allowed on the field or to otherwise participate in or observe activities. No footballs shall be permitted to be used (only "dead ball" activities), except that quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers provided they are not covered by any other player. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase One.
(ii) Phase Two. Phase Two shall consist of the next three weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, during Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play" drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a "separates" basis (e.g .. , kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team). No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense vs. defense drills are permitted (e.g .. , no one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bumpand-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted.) Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.
(iii) Phase Three. Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsections 5(a) and 5(c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity ("OTAs" or "OTA days"). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5(b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days of OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2(b)(ii) of this Article. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs. team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permitted during Phase Three of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.