As is typical when somebody loses something they need, Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz isn’t happy about the NFL taking two of his OTAs.
Schwartz talked to the Detroit News Tuesday, telling the newspaper that the NFL was actually hurting his players rather than helping them avoid unnecessary injury.
“They just generally said that practice was too intense. The pace of practice was too intense. I’ll tell you what, I’m extremely proud of our offseason program. I think that if I was a player I’d want to be in this offseason program. I’m just most disappointed for some of our players. Not our established players, but our young guys that are trying to make the team and trying to improve as football players. They were denied the opportunity to be able to go out and improve as a football player.”
Schwartz now has to install his team’s offense and defense over the course of three days this week, meaning players will have to pick things up at a quicker pace.
As far as what caused the violation, Schwartz seems to be under the impression it happened almost a month ago.
“The league called and asked for film. They actually saw a headline in one of our newspapers that said ‘Suh and Peterman battle it out in OTA’s’ and they flagged that and said ‘Hey, we want to see the practice film’ ” Schwartz said. "I assume they were looking for one-on-ones and things like that, which you’re not allowed to do with the offense and defensive lineman, which we weren’t doing. It took them a long time, almost a month, because it was the first practice with rookies.
Schwartz admitted that the practice was a little rough, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
The first practice with rookies is going to be more guys on the ground and its going to be a little bit looser because you have rookies that are trying to make a good first impression and you have veterans that don’t want to be beaten by a rookie.
He also pointed out that the Lions have been relatively injury-free in the offseason since he became the head coach:
“We’ve had 14 (OTA practices) last year and 12 this year, so 26 OTA practices. I had two minicamps last year and we had zero injuries in those practices other than hamstrings, groins and calf’s. Player safety is important to us and guys do practice hard, but we’ve had a good track record of staying pretty healthy,” he said.
Now that all of the details are known, it seems that Schwartz has the right to be upset.