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Tashaun Gipson - Monday, July 30, 2018

(On if he feels he has his footing back after missing time in the offseason program) "Oh yeah. It is the game of football. It is like anything. Just like last year, I missed all of the offseason, and you use that time. This part right here is to get your footing back, get back in football shape. It is kind of like the same thing. I am not new to this. I have been hurt about four or five years out of my professional career, so I am no stranger to injuries, unfortunately. I am just getting used to getting back in my routine. This is day four, the second day in pads, so it is an exciting time to be back. I am not big worried about anything that is happening right now because I know when the lights come on, I am going to be ready to go." 

(On what is different for him heading into his third year with the Jaguars) "Just comfort. You know the defense. You know where everybody is supposed to be. I know where the linebackers are supposed to be compared to last year. Especially my first year, you are just not knowing the defense. That is huge because I know so many opportunities are missed from not knowing everything about this defense. Now, having opportunities to know like Myles [Jack] is supposed to be here. I have to be able to count on Myles to be there, and he is going to be there. It is just going to free up to make even more opportunities. It is going to be a tragedy if I don't make the Pro Bowl this year, I'm telling you all that right now." (laughter)

(On Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone's comments that he should have been in the Pro Bowl and what that meant to him) "It meant a lot because one thing about Coach Marrone that we all know is that he is a straight shooter. I don't think that me of all people … He doesn't need to kiss up to me. I am just Tashaun Gipson, right? For him to say that – and he meant that – it came from a sincere place. It meant a lot. Obviously, guys play for these accolades. The team goals are first, but the personal accolades are amazing, and I felt like I put my best foot forward and for them to tell me that I was a fourth or fifth alternate, it was crushing. I want to put that out there. It is not that many safeties – damn sure not in the AFC better than me. But for Doug to say that, it meant a lot, because he has seen a lot of football. He has seen a lot of good football players. It just came from a good place. It is motivation at the end of the day, but to know that my head coach believes in me and to that capacity, it definitely means a lot. Hopefully this year, I can continue to grow as a player, and we won't have to have that same type of conversation." 

(On if he uses not being named to the Pro Bowl as fuel during training camp) "You have to use something when the heat touches you. I do not know what I am thinking out there. I need to use something, but absolutely. You look at that and I remember the day [the Pro Bowl roster was announced]. It is kind of like one of those things where you are happy for the guys that made it. Every guy that made it on this team was deserving and rightfully so. Guys like Telvin [Smith Sr.] and 'Yan' [Yannick Ngakoue], I felt like I shouldn't have even had to be an alternate. It is part of the business, man. I did not put too much stock in it, but when you felt like you worked for something and you felt like you truly accomplished something, for it to be the way that it was, it was a little hurt. At the end of the day, it's a new season. The beautiful thing about it is I remember back in 2014 no one knew who I was. I came out, caught six picks and was a Pro Bowler. Each year, you are able to give yourself a new identity. No one cares about what happened last year. A.J. [Bouye] came here as just a guy from Houston that we paid a lot of money and now everybody is talking about him as one of the best corners in the league. You just look at this – each year is a new opportunity. With God, anything is possible and like I said, the AFC is always tight. We have some good safeties, but I feel like I'm up there. Matter of fact, I feel like I am the best when I am healthy. The things that I can do and the things that they allow me to do, it's going to be an exciting year. We have the best defense in the league. It is an exciting time."

(On what the next step is for the defense) "I think I had a conversation about it this offseason. The scary thing is we have a lot of young guys. I think that we can even take a bigger step. You had guys like Yannick [Ngakoue] and Myles [Jack] and Jalen [Ramsey] who are going to be around here for a long time. Those guys are only in year two, so you think about guys like that taking a step in year three – that is scary to think about. [Those are] three dominant guys at their position and I will tell you all, Myles Jack does not get enough [publicity]. I'll say it again: he is going to be one of the best linebackers in the league for years to come. Jalen, we obviously know what he can do. He is the best cornerback in the league right now by far. Yannick, he is just a menace. I think that everybody is getting comfortable. Malik [Jackson] is in year three [with the Jaguars], I am in year three [with the Jaguars]. [Barry] Church is in Yyear two [with the Jaguars]. It is going to be an exciting season, and we just have so many moving parts. I do not think Marcell Dareus gets enough credit. The list goes on and on. This is going to be an exciting year. It is hard for me to realistically sit here, and say I envision a setback, because if anything, I envision us being more dominant. I can't believe we finished second in defense to Minnesota, but they are going to see about that when we come up there in a couple of weeks. I do not like joint practices, but they have to see about it." 

(On when he expects Jalen Ramsey to be back) "You all are trying to put me on the spot. I can't rat on my guy. I plead the fifth. (laughter)He is a professional and obviously childbirth is something that everybody handles different. I was in the same situation, but I was not regarded as the best guy at my position when my kid was born, so I was there. It's a beautiful thing. He had his baby girl. I just talked to him last night. It is a thing where nobody has any ill will because we know when he comes here, we know what we are going to get out of him. That is just one of the things where no matter what he has going on in his personal life, no matter what is going on, he is going to come here, he is going to be Jalen Ramsey, and I am more than confident in what he's going to do. When he comes back, he is going to come back in shape. He is going to come back as the Jalen that we all know, and I think that [Head] Coach Marrone and [Executive VP of Football Operations] Mr. [Tom] Coughlin, they are more than confident in when he is going to come back that he is going to be able to do what he needs to do. I can't tell you when he is going to come back – maybe I know, I just don't want to tell you. But when he comes back, I am going to be excited to have my guy out there." 

(On his early impressions of D.J. Hayden) "I like him. I think that one thing he has is speed. He has speed to burn, and this defense, the way that we play, you are going to need speed. One of the things that we have yet to see, but you can tell that he is a physical guy. Being able to tackle is going to be huge. A.C. [Aaron Colvin], in my opinion, I felt like he was one of the better tackling cornerbacks in the league and that paid dividends for us in that slot. Obviously, when we get live and things going, we are going to be able to tell a lot more about D.J. Hayden, but I like his game. He is quick, he is fast, he is physical, he is strong, and I think he is going to fit in perfect in this 'Jackson 5' mix." 

(On how Ronnie Harrison is getting acclimated to the NFL) "I love Ronnie Harrison's game. He is one of those guys who truly can play both positions. I guess the knock on him coming out was that he was a box safety and what not, who can't cover. I truly believe that he is a unique player, and I think that somehow, someway Ronnie is going to be on the field. He is a good young player. Especially when the game slows down for him – I don't know when that might be – but when the game slows down for him, you can tell that he gets it. He understands football, and that is one of the things that you look at. He knows how to play the game of football, and I don't know if you want to give Nick Saban all that credit. He is just genetically gifted. I am excited to have young guys like that that give us depth. It is an exciting thing like that to be able to coach young guys up. He is quiet, he doesn't talk much, but when he goes out there he plays, and all he does is make plays." 

(On if there is a play or two that sticks out that he wishes he could have made last year that he didn't) "Maybe like five or six [plays]. To say there are a couple plays that stuck out – I know specifically in our zones and our weak hooks. Last year, it was plenty of opportunities where I kind of got too nosy feeling like Myles [Jack] may not carry his hook over or Telvin [Smith Sr.] may not carry his hook, so let me cover him. Instead of doing my assignment, I wasn't … That's a play opp[ortunity], just being able to understand the defense and say, 'I know Telvin is supposed to be there. I know he is going to be there. Myles is going to be there. If I stay on my landmark, this is a play.' I think it was a play against Pittsburgh, right before the half, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], No. 19 for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he ran a seam route and in this defense, that is either a big hit or that is a pick. He ran across the seam and instead of understanding the defense like, 'Telvin is going to pick that up. He might be late, but I have to trust Telvin to do that.' I jumped that, he caught it and they wound up kicking the field goal. Instead of them kicking a field goal and closing the gap, that could have been a play opp[ortunity] for me. It is just little things like that when the game slows down and you start understanding the defense. You say, 'These are play opp[ortunites] for me.' Sometimes playing in the middle field as much as I do, sometimes the difference between those four or five plays that you get that you miss could be the difference between me and Doug [Marrone] having a congratulations conversation or him telling me, 'I'm sorry that you missed that one.'" 

(On what happened on the third-and-18 the team allowed against the Patriots) "That is just one of them things where you got relaxed. I am not going to lie to you – I told myself I would never answer this question again. But that play right there, I would be lying if I said that didn't keep me up all offseason. Got lax, depending on the rush, third-and-18, there is no way you are going to get this ball out with our d-line. He had a little more time and he made a great throw to [Danny] Amendola, and I think that was one of the turning points in the game. That 'laxing' mentality, myself, and I blame myself and myself only like I have been saying. I won't blame this on whatever foot issue I was dealing with. That is a third-and-18 I have to make. If I am on the field, I have to make that play." 

(On if closing out games is a point of emphasis for this defense) "You know, I think towards the latter part of the year, you look at games like Tennessee, New England and things like that – absolutely that was one of the things that hurt us real bad in 2016. We would be playing with a team, and we kind of took that step in the right direction in 2017. But absolutely, you have to be able to do that. I feel like we are as dominant of a defense as there is right now, so absolutely in the fourth quarter. The way these practices are, it is not a conditioning thing. It is not that we are out of shape. These practices are some of the hardest practices that I have ever been a part of in my seven-year career. As a matter of fact, they are. It's not a conditioning thing. It's a mental thing. I think that is something that is easily correctable. You just have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what it is. It is nothing wrong with what we are doing – us schematically. It is not that we are not in shape. It is just we have to have that mentality. You have to see the blood in the water. You have to go attack."