BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson didn’t back down from his critical comments about his former team earlier this week on Wednesday.
He owned them. And doubled down.
“I’ll take ownership that my comments were more pointed to the front office,” Gipson said during a conference call Wednesday. “I still show respect for the [players] back there. It wasn’t a shot. Unless you have Tom Brady at the helm, I think we can pitch a shutout against any team in the NFL. To say I took a shot, I think that is a reach. I really feel this defense can pitch a shutout.”
Gipson put the team and franchise on blast in an interview with ESPN’s Freddie and Fitz radio show Monday in which Gipson said he hopes they hang 40 on the Browns, shut them out and thinks Cleveland will go 0-16 this year.
The only comment Gipson, who said that he knew right away in March of 2016 the Browns didn’t want him back, walked back a bit was the 0-16 blast.
“I can’t speak for the remainder of their schedule but I can say I expect them to be 0-1 Sunday,” Gipson said. “The 0-16 comment was a bit too far but I expect a Jaguars victory Sunday.”
Gipson, who also said he was glad to get away from the Browns organization after signing a 5-year, $36 million contract with the Jaguars, was one of 4 starters the Browns allowed to walk as free agents in 2016 along with tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs), center Alex Mack (Falcons) and receiver Travis Benjamin (Chargers).
Not a single player Wednesday took the bait from Gipson.
“I just laugh at that stuff,” receiver Corey Coleman said. “We play the game on Sunday.”
Gipson’s remarks definitely qualify as ‘bulletin board material’ but most players simply shrugged them off regardless of how disrespected they were made to feel by them.
“We don’t really need extra motivation, but when people talk like that, it definitely helps,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We are not really going to trip off of what anybody says for that matter because they put their pads on just like we put our pads on. They are going to come to the cold. It is going to be a fun, physical game. We will be ready.”
Head coach Hue Jackson addressed what Gipson said with his team as they began preparation for this Sunday’s game.
“You can bet your bottom dollar I did,” Jackson said. “I don’t think we need any motivation. We are an 0-9 football team so I don’t think we are looking for anything. The opportunity to play is motivation enough for this football team. We want to win. That is what it is all about.
“Anytime anybody says something about the organization and the football team, you want your people to be aware, but we have earned this. People are going to say things. You guys say things. People say things all the time. We get it. It isn’t going to change until we change it. The only way you change it is you start winning.”
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone didn’t sound thrilled with what Gipson said during his conference call and he also addressed the remarks with his team during a meeting because he is concerned about coming to Cleveland to face the 0-9 Browns.
“We know that we have a couple of touch matchups,” Marrone said. “We don’t necessarily match up well with Cleveland so we are going to have play extremely well. I have a lot of respect for the coaches, the ownership and obviously, the players there. That is not something that we like to do as a team. It has been addressed, and we understand that it is going to be very difficult for us to go on the road and win a football game.”
Rookie tight end David Njoku expects to see a lot of Gipson and he’s decided to save whatever he has to say for the field.
“I love the smack talk. Without smack talk, for me, I feel like the game isn’t complete. That just drives me more. I just love it,” Njoku said.
“I’m going to be talking to him during the game. If we’re competing against each other, obviously smack talk is going to happen. I’m excited for that too.”
Veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey is 1 of very few Browns who remember Gipson and played with him in Cleveland. The 2 remain friends and they spoke Tuesday, but not about what he said.
“Obviously Tashaun, he loves the game, is very passionate about the game,” Kirksey said. “His comments, you know, he’s trying to get his group fired up over there so he can say what he say. It’s just our job to do what we have to do for this Browns team. I don’t play on the offensive side of the ball so I can’t speak for them but I can say that they’re going to give it there all and they’re going to try and win this game for us. On defense, I have to do what I have to to prepare my guys because it’s going to be a fistfight.
“Their defense is solid, our defense is solid and it’s going to be the best defense will win in my opinion.”