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Can't Miss Slants

OTAs

Organized Team Activities (OTAs) begin today for many NFL teams including all 4 NFC North teams. Each team gets 10 OTA practices (voluntary) and a mandatory mini-camp. During OTAs teams can practice 7 on 7 drills, 9 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills. There is still no contact allowed and only helmets and elbow/knee pads are worn. The media is allowed access one of every 3 days. Here is the schedule.

NFC North

CHICAGO

First day: April 18 OTA offseason workouts: May 24-26, June 1-3, June 6-9 Mandatory minicamp: June 14-16

DETROIT

First day: April 18 OTA offseason workouts: May 24-26, May 31, June 1-2, June 6-9 Mandatory minicamp: June 14-16

GREEN BAY

First day: April 18 OTA offseason workouts: May 23, 24, 26, June 1-3, June 6-9 Mandatory minicamp: June 14-16

MINNESOTA

First day: April 18 OTA offseason workouts: May 24-26, May 31, June 1-2, June 6-9 Mandatory minicamp: June 14-16

Here are some story lines to watch:

Rookie Watch

How will rookies look and where will they play? Depth charts are far from set but it will be interesting to see how where players line up. Taylor Decker at left tackle would be news worthy for the Lions. Will Treadwell show he can be a good WR from the start? Kenny Clark will miss most of OTAs due to graduation rules. How will the young offensive linemen look for Chicago, Green Bay and Detroit? Will any mid and late round picks shine early?

You Still Injured Bro?

There are several NFC North players returning from a long term injury. DeAndre Levy, Travis Swanson, Jordy Nelson, Kevin White, Phil Loadholt, John Sullivan to name a few. Will they get reps and how will they look with their movements following injury?

New Schemes

The Lions are installing the Jim Bob Cooter scheme on offense full time after a successful half season with a limited Cooter scheme. Dom Capers always installs a few exotic looks that backfire during playoff time. The Bears have a new offensive coordinator (Dowell Loggains) with big shoes to fill by replacing Adam Gase. Will Vic Fangio have more luck with his 3-4 defense with his shiny new DEs and ILBs in Chicago?

Optimism

May through July is full of optimism for all NFL teams. All the feel good story lines will run rampant in the next few months. Young unknown players will be hyped up. Injured players will say they are closer to returning without a true injury report to squash those hopes. The NFL is full of optimism but we all know it’s the Lions year in 2016.