Part of the new CBA deal that was ratified today by the Players Association and the Brady plaintiffs includes among many other things, changes to training camp and OTA's.
Limiting the amount of OTA's that each team can do, and when they can start will change the way teams prepare during the offseason. Teams won't be allowed to start OTA's in March and get teams working out like before. Those offseason processes will begin at some point in May.That's something that can be worked out without too much trouble I would imagine. Draft picks will still be able to work out with the teams, get their playbooks, watch film, etc. Limiting the amount of OTA's isn't the worst thing in the world, especially for veterans.
The problem comes with training camps, and limiting the amount of 2 a days that will happen. Limiting the amount of padded practices that can happen during the season, and the offseason for that matter.
Teams like the Steelers, teams that thrive on the physical nature of football are going to have a huge adjustment to go through. As recently as last year Tomlin and other coaches talked about on several occasions that their teams were looking sluggish, or just not where they should be. So the coaches put the pads back on, start hitting in practice again, going all out and their teams responded on game day. You won't have that type of luxury on the fly going forward into the new NFL.
Coaches will have to adjust their practice schedules, training schedules, and how they work their players. Even as veteran a team as the Steelers are, Mike Tomlin is still the ultimate motivator. These guys love to hit, love to go full out every chance they get. Pittsburgh is not a finesse team, they are a physical, brute force, punch you in the mouth team. It remains to be seen how these changes will affect not only Pittsburgh but all teams that play a similar style.
Veterans like Hines Ward, James Harrison, James Farrior, Troy Polamalu, all the established players (and on the Steelers there are certainly a lot of them) won't have as much of an issue with the shortened padded practices as the younger guys will. Workouts like this that will no longer be an option, will hamper the chances of new players trying to make the team, especially the late round draftees and UDFA's. This is where you make your name with the coaches, on the practice field taking on the hits and working your way through all the game type situations the coaches put them through. Guys like Baron Batch for example are already under the gun being drafted in the 7th round so he is going to have to work 5 times harder than anyone else just to secure a roster spot even on special teams.
It will bring out the best in everyone though, in camp, and that's always a good thing. With limited padded workouts there will be less room for error. Gusy on the bubble will going full steam harder than ever to try and get the coaches to notice them in a good way. Pre season games should more entertaining than in the past as well. There's nothing like a real game to see how guys will handle the pressure. When camp is over and teams begin to get to the final roster cuts you're like to find coaches having to cut a good prospect or keep a questionable one. There is liable to quite a big list of good players getting cut in camp, which will open up all sorts of possibilities for new faces, especially when injuries start and teams try to fill voids to start the season.