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Top Jaguars free agents of the Dave Caldwell era: No. 5 Tashaun Gipson

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We’re counting down the top Jacksonville Jaguars free agents of the Dave Caldwell era. In at No. 5 is Tashaun Gipson.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We’re counting down the top Jacksonville Jaguars free agents of the Dave Caldwell era. In at No. 5 is Tashaun Gipson.

Early in general manager Dave Caldwell’s tenure, he knew free safety was a need. He signed Sergio Brown on an inexpensive deal but it wasn’t long before we saw that wasn’t the answer long-term.

Enter Tashaun Gipson.

His first season with the Jaguars was disappointing and according to Gipson it was because of his role in the secondary.

“I’m just not a guy that wants to sit middle of the field 15 yards down field all game,” Gipson said after a disappointing 2016 season.

We know that Gipson was drafted to be the center-fielder, and not give up big plays as the last line of defense. But he’s essentially saying that he wasn’t even given a chance to make those plays. All offseason we heard about how Gipson added a “veteran presence” and how his speed and ball skills were something the defense hasn’t seen a lot of during Bradley’s tenure. From this particular quote though, rather than being put in an attacking position within the scheme to create interceptions, it looks like Gipson was essentially a preventer, and was just asked to minimize the risk of big plays. This is Wash’s hallmark philosophy of course, but it’s a terrible look when your free safety basically says that he wasn’t put in a position to make plays.

Gipson’s defining trait, his ball skills, were not even used in the scheme, according to this quote.

But the 2017 season was a complete turnaround where a case could be made he was a top-10 free safety in the NFL. This Jaguars secondary was incredible in coverage, allowing the defensive line time to pressure and sack the quarterback more often than it has for most of the past 20 years.

It will be interesting to see how the Jaguars secondary plays in 2018 what with two new players coming in at this point last year — cornerback A.J. Bouye and strong safety Barry Church.