2016 Jaguars Spotlight: Tashaun Gipson

By: Ryan Catoe

Good morning Malik, this is Shad Khan owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who would you like me to make this check out to? …and then he made sure to add some zeroes on for good measure. 

It’s year four of the Bradley-Caldwell regime, and the results thus far have left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths. Not even the best brews of the Bold City could make up for the lack of success on the field. 

People who are not fans of the Jags can now name a player without the initials MJD. 

The pieces have started coming together however, even if more so behind the scenes. Thanks to a huge push by the Bold City Brigade. If you are ever in Jax for a gameday, make sure to find your way to one of their tailgates and you will not be disappointed.

The Jaguars, who gave up an average of 28 points per game last season, ahead of only the New Orleans Saints, had more money to spend than anyone in 2016 NFL Free Agency, and they were far from bashful with the checkbook. 

They brought in household names like Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara on the defensive side of the ball. 

The concern for a lack of a pass rush should be relieved by the secondary help.

The run defense was middle of the pack, but the pass coverage was torched all season. These newcomers along with Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack are going to attempt to turn that around this season. The lack of pass rush and depth in the secondary contributed to a defense that could not get off the field on third down. The loss of Dante Fowler at the beginning of camp put a definite damper on the excitement and hope for the pass rush.

The streak continued with Jalen Ramsey as he had been rumored to being injured, but were fortunate to have him healed up and ready to go for training camp. 

The biggest addition to the defense in my opinion this season is safety Tashaun Gipson. The 2014 Pro Bowler adds a dimension that the team has been missing. That ball hawk safety who can erase a blown coverage and a defensive mind that picks up on audibles and route keys. The concern for a lack of a pass rush should be relieved by the secondary help. 

Whenever the pass rush would get through it seemed that a receiver would get unrealistically open. Then when the coverage could actually hold we couldn’t break through the wall of opposing O-Linemen. Having that veteran playing center field will force the quarterback to channel his inner Blaine Gabbert and hit that perfect 10 yards out-of-bounds throw away pass.

 It will allow Jonathan Cyprien to play a role more suitable to him as an enforcer. It will allow Cyp to play in the box and shut down the run and impose his physicality. Only the die hard Jaguars fans could name you more than a handful of players, and almost none could name one of the safeties.

Gipson brings a leadership and swagger that will be contagious with the suddenly deep defensive secondary. He will serve as a leader and teacher for rookie Jalen Ramsey. 

It will allow him to learn the ropes and have a solid player to learn from in the meantime. Gus Bradley said the team was “built” last year, but obviously we were a little ways from being complete.

 With the additions this offseason through the draft and free agency, the new look defense could have Duval partying like it’s 1996.

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