Let’s just say Jalen Ramsey and Tashaun Gipson weren’t happy with the way the 2016 season turned out. It was Gipson who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars because, as he told the media, he was tired of losing. The safety knew all too well what that feeling was like – having played in Cleveland before making the jump to North Florida.
While the Browns won a single game last year, the Jaguars put together three victories – not much better and a lot of work to be done. Both defensive backs voiced their displeasure with the team and defensive coordinator Todd Wash, which was the reason why the players and coach finally spoke about the concerns with the team’s defense.
Per Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, Wash said he met with Ramsey and Gipson when the players reported for the start of the offseason conditioning program in mid-April and the group had a productive conversation -- and he got his point across that those kind of complaints shouldn’t be aired publicly.
With the changes on defense, which include bringing in safety Barry Church from Dallas and cornerback AJ Bouye from Houston, this might be the best secondary the Jaguars will field in a decade.
“As soon as we were able to with the new agreement, the CBA, we were able to sit down and talk about it,” Wash said. “Both of us were frustrated by the comments. We understand where they came from [and] had a great conversation. We understand that all of that stuff needs to stay in-house.
“Once again, they can say what they want. They’re grown men. We’ll talk about that stuff when it happens, one-on-one.”
With the lines of communication open, everyone can concentrate on training camp. The changes in the secondary should mean the pass defense will improve. It is a belief this team will also have more interceptions than it has in recent years.
Per DiRocco’s piece, Ramsey thought he could have made more of an impact had he been able to be flexible to play different techniques, blitz more, and play multiple positions. That is the kind of play the former FSU All-American was used to. Ramsey said he spoke with the coaches about doing some of those things but was denied.
Now, he has been heard.
“Every week we ran the same defense,” said Ramsey, who finished his rookie season with 55 tackles, 14 pass breakups, and two interceptions. “We never changed defenses. We never changed plays. What we were running on first down at the beginning of the season we were running on first down at the end of the season. What we were running on second down, third down, same. Nothing ever changed.”
Gipson should be more active as well on the back line. As the veteran starter in the secondary, he hopes his second season in Jacksonville will prove to be more prolific.
Gipson had 13 interceptions from 2013-15 but had just one and broke up just two passes this season. He made 39 tackles, the fewest he’s made in a season since his rookie year in 2012.