By the time this weekend is over, twenty-six of 32 NFL teams will have conducted their rookie minicamp. Four teams (Arizona, Miami, San Francisco and Kansas City) will hold their respective rookie minicamps next weekend. The Cincinnati Bengals are one of two teams that won't hold one this year, joining the New York Giants. Instead the Bengals will have their rookies join the team's veterans when the team kicks off their first OTA session on May 27 -- less than two weeks from when most teams are holding their rookie minicamp.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin told New York's media last week:
"[Not having a rookie minicamp has] never been done before. In the past you've had to work it so that when they came for the minicamp, they stayed. Well, we're into the [offseason] program, we're on the field four days a week, so to shut this thing down so we can have a rookie minicamp or do something, a one-day camp on the weekend, we could have them on the field [this past] Tuesday [instead]."
This goes back to the general dislike from NFL coaches from having the NFL Draft in May, which cuts down on the amount of time to teach their players -- along with the CBA enforcing stricter offseason policies.
"As far as teaching goes, it's a great progression to have an opportunity for them to come and spend time at a rookie camp, have an opportunity to go home for a bit and absorb what they got exposed to, and then come back with the other players to have the second time around," Lewis said during the NFL draft. "To me, that's a much better teaching progression, so then they get it again a third time when we go to training camp so they can get things locked down."
If you factor the amount of time from the draft to their first camp, it's not really any different than in the past. There were two weeks between the NFL draft (April 25-27, 2013) and the rookie minicamp (May 10-12, 2013) last year. Just over two weeks will pass this year between the NFL Draft (May 8-10, 2013) and Cincinnati's first OTA session on May 27, 2014 -- where the rookies will get their first on-field workouts. Additionally, most, if not all, of Cincinnati's rookies are in town anyway. It's not like they're not learning anything, being acclimated to the system, or currently working out with veterans. So we get the reasoning. We'll see if it really matters in the end.