The first round of organized team activities (OTAs) for the 2013 Houston Texans began on May 20. These are voluntary activities, and are limited to seven-on-seven, nine-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. No contact is permitted and the only protective gear allowed for the participants are their helmets.
OTAs are little more than low-key practices, where players go through the motions associated with their positions. For the grizzled veterans that do show up, they are a good faith attempt at demonstrating their commitment to the team. The same holds true for the draftees, although what happens will influence their slotting on the depth chart come training camp.
For the majority of undrafted free agents (UDFAs), they are a life-or-death proposition. OTAs are their only chance to make a first impression. What they are all praying for is a vote of confidence from the coaching staff that results in an invitation to training camp.
The Texans ended last season on a very unsatisfying note, dropping four of their last six games. These uncomplicated drills are their initial opportunity to rid themselves of the bitter aftertaste associated with that disappointment. And their first chance to starting fixing the problems that led to the collapse.
The team starts off the year with a surplus of uncertainties. What questions will the opening round of OTAs hope to answer?