Around the NFC West: Right on schedule

Good morning, NFC West.

The NFL won't announce its 2013 regular-season schedule until well into April. For now, we'll have to settle for the offseason schedule, released Thursday.

Around the NFC West: March 29, 2013

The St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks open their formal offseason programs April 15. The Arizona Cardinals begin April 2 under rules allowing teams with first-year head coaches to get a jump on the process.

Phase One of the offseason programs begin on those dates. Quarterbacks can throw passes to receivers. No helmets are allowed. Only strength-and-conditioning coaches can watch or supervise.

Phase Two continues for the next three weeks. Rules allow all coaches to attend and administer individual drills. Offenses and defenses can run plays, but not against each other. Helmets are still not allowed. One-on-one drills are prohibited.

Phase Three covers the following three weeks. Players can wear helmets. Offenses can work against defenses without live contact. This phase includes organized team activities.

Arizona has OTAs scheduled for May 14-16, May 21-23 and June 3-6. A voluntary minicamp, available to teams with new head coaches, is scheduled for April 23-25. The Cardinals have a mandatory camp June 11-13, same as for the 49ers and Seahawks.

The Rams have no mandatory camp scheduled. Instead, they have spread out their OTAs over a period running one week past OTAs for other teams in the division. I'm not sure of the Rams' thinking on this, but spreading out the dates can keep players in town for a longer chunk of the offseason. Teams sometimes see that as an advantage.

Related: League-wide offseason program dates here.