JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's easy to forget about the Jaguars' safeties with all of the talent playing around them.
Free safety Tashaun Gipson has become a bit of an afterthought, despite being the team's co-leader with four interceptions.
While he has flown under-the-radar, Gipson has still come up with big plays throughout the campaign. On Sunday, Gipson picked off Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the fourth quarter.
The turnover squandered any hope of a Colts comeback.
"Gip’s one of those guys that I think is kind of getting lost in the type with the year he’s having," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said.
"He’s really playing extremely well in that position. I told him [Saturday] after the team meeting, I grabbed Gippy and said, ‘Hey look, I just want to tell you,’ and I don’t say this a lot, it's one of the things I try to work on, but I pulled him aside and said, ‘You’re having a heck of a year, you really are and you’ve got to continue to keep playing.' I told him that last night before the meeting and today he comes up and has a big play, but he’s been doing that all year. He’s really been doing well.”
Gipson was miscast as a full-time single-high safety during his first season with the Jaguars. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash has opened up the defense this season to allow Gipson to be more involved in the action.
The change in scheme has paid off. Gipson has become much more of an asset against the run.
The veteran has also done his best to prevent big plays for opposing offenses. With Gipson serving as a safety net, the Jaguars have only allowed six passing plays of 40 or more yards through 12 games.
Gipson has been a standout in man coverage as well. His work against Colts tight end Jack Doyle played heavily into the Jaguars' series sweep of Indianapolis.
Gipson held the Colts' receptions leader to just three catches for 16 yards during the Week 13 victory.
"I think [Doyle is] a heck of a player, someone that we were extremely concerned about," Marrone said. "I know that when we were in man we were going to put Gipson on him."
Gipson has earned the respect and trust of his coaching staff with his play. After struggling to fit in on the field during his first season in Jacksonville, Gipson has turned things around and become a viable playmaker in the secondary.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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