The Cleveland Browns are winless. Hope is drained, the fans could care less and players are looking for anything they can find to motivate them to play hard on Sundays.
A former Brown gave them just that.
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson tore into Cleveland on a Monday radio appearance. He took shots at the organization which let him walk in free agency in 2015, claiming he hopes the Jags score 40 points in this Sunday’s matchup between the two teams. He also said he doesn’t expect Cleveland to even score. Gipson ended his comments predicting Browns will go 0-16 this year, while also guessing everyone within Cleveland’s locker room is probably miserable.
And there you have it. A deflated 0-9 team was handed motivation on a silver platter. Surely an opposing player claiming he expects the Browns to go winless, who expects to slaughter them come Sunday and who claims everyone on the team is depressed will light a fire under Cleveland, right?
Eh, not really. In fact, based on the responses we heard from Browns players today, Gipson’s comments seem right on the money.
Various Cleveland players were asked to address what the former Brown had to say. It was clear everyone had heard the comments. However, if they ruffled anyone’s feathers, it wasn’t very apparent.
Some seemed to brush them off as a non-story. Quarterback DeShone Kizer noted the comments aren’t being discussed in the locker room. Meanwhile, linebacker Chris Kirksey shrugged the talk off as Gipson just trying to get his team riled up, nothing more, nothing less.
Safety Jabrill Peppers didn’t respond with much outside of saying he doesn’t get involved in trash talking. Tight end David Njoku deemed the comments as smack talk which will make Sunday more fun.
Of course, the gem of the day was running back Isaiah Crowell‘s response. When asked about Gipson’s quotes, not only did Crowell seem undeterred, he also said he respected what Gipson said.
Again, the Browns were told not only did their opponent expect to crush them Sunday, but that at least one player is openly predicting they won’t win a single game this season. Yet, the most standout quote from today’s media scrum was someone saying they respected what was said?
To be fair, a team as bad of the Browns can’t afford to talk trash. Vegas odds would favor this backfiring in epic fashion. Additionally, I wouldn’t expect any responses to be angry tirades laced with hell-fire and brimstone. At 0-9, morale is no doubt low.
At the same time, this was more than just playful jabs about one game. It was “the Browns probably aren’t winning a single contest this year” and “everyone in that locker room is probably despondent.” While heated responses wouldn’t have affected a ton on the field, they at the very least would’ve implied the team cared.
Yet, outside of a couple exceptions, the majority of the replies gave the image of a team which heard what Gipson said and thought “…yeah, sounds about right.” Who knows what’s being said within the locker room, but what these comments do is paint the picture of a team which can’t be bothered to give a damn.
What Gipson said was a notable critique of the players within the Browns’ locker room which goes beyond just this Sunday. He’s saying the team as currently built isn’t good enough to win a game this year. This didn’t aggravate a single Browns player? This wasn’t a boiling point, a comment which frustrated the players enough to show something, anything which indicates they’re not happy about how this season has gone?
I understand everyone is down in Cleveland right now. I get the fact the team being 0-9 probably numbs the reaction to any sort of bulletin board material. Snapping back at someone for predicting you’ll go winless won’t affect whether or not it actually happens.
At the same time, it’s not asking much to hope the team would show some pride. It shouldn’t be a reach to think the players would take Gipson’s comments personal. Animated responses would at the very least give the impression the team takes the talk of an 0-16 season seriously and wants to avoid said outcome at all costs.
But no. Instead we were treated to indifference, deeming it as playful smack talk or just outright respecting the comments in general. Yet another moment of inspiration from 2017 Browns.
As mentioned, we have no idea what’s being said within the Cleveland locker room about all this. What was said outside of it, though, gave the feeling Gipson isn’t far off from the truth.