JACKSONVILLE – Tashaun Gipson knows close isn't enough.
But the Jaguars' free safety knows this, too: Close is better than not close – and getting close on Sunday was a good sign.
So, while the Jaguars' secondary doesn't have an interception through four games this season, Gipson said getting a slew of chances in a dominant defensive performance against the New York Jets Sunday absolutely is progress.
"We understood we hadn't had many opportunities," Gipson said Monday, a day after the Jaguars held the Jets to 178 yards and 10 first downs in a 31-12 victory at TIAA Bank Field.
"I feel like we truly should have had at least three. [Cornerback] A.J. [Bouye] dropped a clear one. [Cornerback] Jalen [Ramsey] dropped a clear one. … This is the kind of game I feel like we needed to get back on track."
Drops by the two All-Pro cornerbacks definitely were on Gipson's mind Monday. But more on his mind was the opportunity he missed – through no fault of his own.
Gipson, who told reporters last week he expected the secondary to gets its first interception against the Jets – and that he expected to be the one to get it – intercepted Jets quarterback Sam Darnold late in the second quarter, returning it to the Jets 20. But a holding penalty on Bouye negated the play. Bouye said he apologized to Gipson during the game, and Gipson said half-joking and half-serious Monday that he hadn't yet forgiven Bouye.
"I won't let it go until I catch one," he said with a smile. "That's my brother. At the end of the day, stuff happens. I thought about it all night."
Gipson joked, too, that he should get at least some credit for his prediction.
"I can't say I didn't tell you all I was going to be the first one to catch a pick," Gipson said. "Technically, I haven't. But I will still. It's part of the game, so you shrug it off. At the end of the day, we won. That's the most important part. We wanted to make sure we came out with a win. That was huge for us."
The Jaguars finished second in the NFL last season with 21 interceptions, with the secondary combining for 18: six by Bouye and four each by safety Barry Church, Ramsey and Gipson.
"It was awesome seeing guys having fun, getting their hands on the ball," Gipson said. "Now, we're starting to get into that groove. At the end of the day, we're the best secondary in the National Football League. We know the opportunities are going to come."
*Gipson shortly after having the interception negated committed a personal foul for taunting Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa after Enunwa dropped a potential first-down-converting pass on fourth-and-1 from the 50. "I fault Jalen," he said, laughing. "He pumped me up all week, so I channeled my inner Jalen Ramsey. I don't know how he lives his life, but it's not for me." Gipson called it a "heat-of-the-moment" penalty in response to Enunwa talking throughout the first half. "When the opportunity came, they gifted us with that and I wanted him to hear me: 'You're not going to come out here and out-talk the Jaguars; we've got Jalen Ramsey in our secondary and he wouldn't be too happy about that,''' Gipson said. Gipson also was asked if Ramsey might help him pay a potential fine from the penalty. Ramsey, standing nearby, asked Gipson if he would be fined and Gipson said he didn't know. "If they fine you, we're going halves," Ramsey said told Gipson. …
*Linebacker Myles Jack on the importance of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to the team's run defense: "A guy like that, a perennial Pro Bowler … he keeps offensive linemen off me and makes my job a whole lot easier. Marcell's a great player, and more importantly a great person." The Jaguars were averaging allowing 145.6 yards per game last season before acquiring Dareus in a trade from the Buffalo Bills; they have allowed 97.6 yards per game rushing since. The Jaguars allowed the Jets 256 yards rushing in Week 4 last season; the Jets rushed for 34 yards Sunday. "He's a huge part of that," Jack said. "That's his M.O. That's what he does. He's damned good at it." …
*The Jaguars, who finished second in the NFL in total defense last season and first in pass defense, improved to No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed and No. 1 in passing yards allowed through Sunday's games. The Jaguars have allowed 259.3 yards per game this season; the Baltimore Ravens are second in yards allowed at 275.8 yards allowed. The Jaguars have allowed 164.3 yards per game passing; the Detroit Lions are second at 171.8. …