You have probably heard that the Jacksonville Jaguars chose to cancel their last OTA practice to go paintball shooting. What you might not have known is that players weren't aware at first but became ecstatic once they found out.
Linebacker Devin Lloyd made an appearance on the Jim Rome Show and touched on several topics, including his first season in the NFL, where he is right now, both mentally and physically, and how he feels ahead of Year 2. The former Utah Ute also told host Jim Rome that although he and his teammates had a suspicion, they didn't know they were going paintball shooting.
"Man, that was awesome", Lloyd said. "We definitely had an inkling just because the schedule was a little different but we didn't know what it was gonna be. And when he said it was paintball, everyone was ecstatic. And that was a great time".
"A lot of it had to do with team camaraderie, building relationships outside of football. And I think that only strengthened our relationship even more but then it's also fun going out and competing in something other than football. We have ping pong, we have little stuff in the building but I think that being so live-action in real life, it was great", Lloyd said.
Rome then asks Lloyd what kind of strategy he used and whether they were camping or hunting.
"So the first game, we were kind of playing conservative. A lot of guys were back and we kind of tried to attack the sides. And we lost, so we realized that didn't work. So the next three games that we played were just hinging, we were aggressive. We had guys surrounding the perimeters and everyone was just hunting, everyone was attacking and we figured out that was what we were the best at", Lloyd told Rome.
The Jaguars are building a strong locker room in Year 2 of the Doug Pederson era
It's common for coaches to ditch OTA practices in favor of having everyone partake in non-football activities. The Pittsburgh Steelers just went go-karting but other clubs have also done it in the past, here's a clip of Zay Jones being shot during the Jaguars' day off.
That's right, general manager Trent Baalke also went paintball shooting with the team. This is great when you consider that he didn't have a great reputation around the league prior to joining the Jaguars. During his stint with the San Francisco 49ers, he often clashed with head coach Jim Harbaugh and his departure from the Niners was seen as him losing a power struggle.
From the outside, it's hard to tell what really took place when Baalke was with San Francisco. However, he's seemed to have built a strong rapport not only with owner Shad Khan and head coach Doug Pederson but with his players as well and that reflects well on him. Maybe those things they said about him were true but it no longer matters because he's had a positive impact in Jacksonville over the last two years.
Pederson also deserves praise for knowing when to push their players and when to take it easy on them. If the Jacksonville Jaguars end up making a deep playoff run in 2023, he won't hesitate to take them paintball shooting more often.