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Davon House: "These pieces will help us"


JACKSONVILLE – Davon House likes what happened last week.

That's not because he considers one of the defensive backs the Jaguars signed early in 2016 free agency a friend, or because he knows a lot about the other.

No, as House sees it, the players added last week on the defensive front should help the ones added in the back of the defense, and the opposite should be true, too.

And overall, House said he just has a good vibe from the 2016 offseason thus far.

"We're not the same old Jaguars that everyone thinks we are," House said.

The Jaguars, after struggling last season in passing situations, last week signed three defensive players in the first wave of 2016 free agency. Two of those players – free safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Prince Amukamara – are expected to start and/or play front-line roles in the secondary.

Gipson, a 2012 collegiate free agent from Wyoming, signed as an unrestricted free agent from Cleveland. Amukamara, a 2011 first-round selection from Nebraska, signed after spending his first five seasons with the New York Giants.

House, who led the Jaguars with four interceptions and a franchise-record 23 passes defensed last season after signing as an unrestricted free agent from Green Bay, is solidified at one corner. The rest of the secondary appears to be taking shape, with Gipson likely to start at free safety and Johnathan Cyprien perhaps competing with James Sample at strong safety.

Amukamara could start opposite House, enabling Colvin to play predominantly nickel after starting outside and moving to nickel in passing situations last season.

Whatever the combination, House said "these two pieces [Gipson and Amukamara] are definitely going to help us."

House said the same is true of defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who signed as an unrestricted free agent from Denver and who was widely considered this offseason's best available free agent after teams re-signed players and applied franchise-transition tags.

"The league knows that these three guys can play ball," House said. "They have started in this league, and they have been impact players in this league. That's what we need. They're great players, and then we bring in the players from this year's draft …"

House and Amukamara knew each other before, and were in contact during Amukamara's negotiations with the Jaguars last week. Amukamara said at the time of his signing that House talked positively of the franchise's direction, the team's core of young players and the culture being built under Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell.

House said he knows of Gipson through former teammate with the Green Bay Packers, cornerback Tramon Williams, who played with Gipson last season in Cleveland.

"I've heard a lot of good things about both of them," House said.

Gipson is expected to solidify a free-safety position that is critical in the Jaguars' defense. He led the NFL in interceptions in 2013 and 2014, and has 14 interceptions in four NFL seasons. While injuries have forced him to miss 25 games in five NFL seasons, Amukamara has been a front-line cover corner when healthy.

Whatever the eventual packages, House said two additional starting-level players will help the entire secondary.

"It helps a lot," House said. "Primary example: when I was in Green Bay, even though I wasn't playing that much the entire group got better year-to-year because of the competition that was in that room. We had Casey Hayward. We had Tramon Williams. We had Sam Shields. We had Charles Woodson.

"So, the competition was there, and it made everyone better, so regardless of who was out there – whether it was Sam or Trumon, or me and Trumon, or Trumon or Charles Woodson – we knew these guys were our best guys on this Sunday. The best part was there were no hard feelings in the room.

"We all wanted to win, and we all wanted to get better."

Seeing double:House spoke about the secondary and the improvements Wednesday, but the interview wasn't the highlight of his day. He spoke from the hospital where his wife, Trish, had given birth to identical twins, Titus and Isaiah.

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