Annual OTA Warning

Here's Eddie Lacy looking good in practice. Notice the lack of potential tacklers. Every year, we come to the start of Organized Team Activities and every beat writer on every team writes three words that apply to at least one player on the team he or she covers:

"He looks good."

What they mean by this is simple: the player they're discussing is exceeding the performance of other players in OTAs to the degree that they stand out (duh). The only problem is, they're doing it while wearing nothing more than cleats, shorts, a jersey, and a helmet. You know, the things you wear during a football game. If you're a spectator. And it's July. And you have a football helmet and cleats.

The point is, anybody can look good during practices in May. Most guys can look good during training camp. But only 53 of them will make the roster, and there's a good chance that 10 to 15 of the guys that actually do make the roster could be replaced at a moment's notice by a similar player and nobody would know any different.

When you're watching non-football football, it's remarkably easy for your eyes to deceive you. You see a guy look fast or powerful, and it's easy to forget that these practices are nothing like a real NFL game. Sure, you'll see some football-like activity, but most of it won't be anything close to meaningful to the casual observer. Even some coaches are fooled by a player who can "look good" while practicing in shorts. Some players carve out small careers based only on how good they can look in practice, regardless of how much actual football ability they may have.

Therefore, as you hear reports on social media, Packers blogs, NFL rumor sites, and so on, remember that just because somebody looks good now, it doesn't mean they're anywhere near a lock for making the final roster. There's a long way to go and a lot of football to be evaluated before we approach something resembling an NFL team.

This public service announcement is brought to you by The Packer Perspective.

Jon Meerdink