Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/23/14
Tashaun Gipson made the type of play during Wednesday's practice that, in the parlance of fellow Browns safety Donte Whitner, will help him "get across that water." Quarterback Brian Hoyer sailed a ball over his intended receiver that appeared headed out of bounds. Supplying support for his cornerback, Gipson soared for the errant pass and batted it with one hand near the sidelines. Keeping his eyes trained on the ball, he corralled it with both mitts and demonstrated the body control of an Olympic gymnast as he stuck the landing just inside the boundary to the delight of his defensive teammates gathered on the sidelines. "I actually didn't know much about him before I got here," said Whitner, the free-agent acquisition from San Francisco. "I know that he was (tied for fifth) in the league in interceptions. Sometimes that can be deceiving, but when you get here and you start to play with a guy you see his mannerisms, you see his work ethic inside the classroom and on the football field, then you start to understand who he is. "I'm just here to get across that water, and when I say 'get across that water,' let's get to the Pro Bowl (in Hawaii). When you get to the Pro Bowl, that means that you've stepped your game up to another level, and that's what I'm here to help him do." At this time of year, the curiosity of many fans is reserved for rookies, new additions and, of course, quarterbacks. The performance of most returning veterans is static. Entering his third season, Gipson believes his game has room to grow. He's developed from an undrafted free agent fighting for playing time in 2012 to full-time starter who's versatile enough to fit in Mike Pettine's defensive scheme that emphasizes interchangeable safeties. Gipson is 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds of chiseled confidence. The University of Wyoming product never doubted he could play at the NFL level, and believes a Pro Bowl bid is a possibility. "Oh absolutely," he said. "I definitely think there are things I can accomplish in this defense. It's a nice defense and it fits my skill set very well. I think it's a very good possibility. I've just got to capitalize on the plays that come my way. No missed opportunities." Gipson intercepted five passes in his first season as a starter and delivered several memorable hits, including ones on Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manuel and tight end Jermichael Finley. ProFootballFocus rated him as the league's 68th safety out of 86, but he finished 26th in percentage of passes caught (60.6) in his coverage area. Teaming with All-Pro T.J. Ward, who signed with the Denver Broncos, Gipson limited the number of big plays against the Browns' defense, which ranked ninth overall.
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