Going to Training Camp, as a fan, is kind of fun.
There's the beginning of practice, when the players are basically stretching and running through some individual drills, which is rather useless. However, after that, the team matches up against each other and scrimmages, and that's where you can really get a good idea of which players have progressed since the year before and which rookies might make an immediate impact.
OTAs, which have been going on this week, and Mini-Camp, which will be going on next week, are kinda of like the beginning of Training Camp without the fun scrimmaging at the end.
There might be scrimmaging. I honestly don't know, because I've never been to OTAs, but if there is I'm sure even that is at half-speed.
It's my understand that OTAs and Mini-Camp is the time for instruction, when the coaches are implementing their playbooks or getting new players caught up to speed, and Training Camp is mostly a time for evaluation (with some coaching mixed in). It's the difference between a class on motorcycle safety and actually riding a motorcycle.
Yes, we haven't talked much about OTAs here and we won't talk much about Mini-Camp barring any sort of injury. That's because we can't really tell you how much a player is learning, and that's all that is supposed to be happening in these weeks.
The first Training Camp practice that will be open to the public is on July 24th.