It would not be a Jaguars against Steelers game without some trash talk. Each time these teams meet, it seems the talking gets going throughout the week, and on both sides this week, that has turned out to be true. On Thursday, George Pickens responded to the Jaguars’ secondary challenging him, saying that their defense is a ‘hope defense’ on the back end that relies on their defensive line.
“I think their D-Line they depend on their D-Line a lot,” Pickens said. “With their team having a lot of first-round picks on that D-Line, that’s what they depend on a lot. They kinda hope, hope that the guys hold up long enough, it’s kinda a hope defense.”
On Friday, the Jaguars heard the comments. Not only did players listen to it, but so did head coach Doug Pederson. Pederson is taking it as just typical banter throughout the week of an NFL game, even though it can provide some extra fire to the game. The head coach is shrugging it off.
“I’ve seen it, but I haven’t heard it from the team,” Pederson said. “I don’t know, I’m sure they’ve seen it. You still got to go play, bottom line. You got to go play. I try to coach our guys and I know Coach Tomlin [Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin] does the same thing. You got to coach your guys not to put information like that out there and just keep things to yourself. At the end of the day, you still got to go play and make plays and execute. That’s what it comes down to.”
But safety Andre Cisco might have taken it a little bit more close to the chest. The often thoughtful and long-winded Cisco had a very short answer to Jaguars reporters on Friday when discussing the comment made by George Pickens about the secondary and their pass defense.
“It was an interesting choice of words,” Cisco said.
For the record, Pickens is responding to a comment made by Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins earlier this week when he stated that Pickens had yet to face the Jaguars cornerbacks despite his recent string of dominance. It seems that chippiness is going to percolate right into Sunday.
“I think our cornerbacks do a great job with any matchup,” Jenkins said to 1010XL. “I know the receiver we have coming up, No. 14, has a high yards per catch. But, respectfully. he hasn’t played our corners yet. That’s what I’ll say on that.”
The Jaguars cornerbacks fall into the category of guys who might not be marquee names but are playing solid football. Tyson Campbell, Tre Herndon, and Darious Williams have played at a stable level. Pittsburgh will have their hands full, and Campbell has the unique experience of facing Pickens while at Georgia. So, both of these players are familiar with one another. However, Pickens is a player who believes in himself at all costs and will try to make an example out of the Jaguars cornerbacks.
Former Georgia teammate of Pickens, Travon Walker, wants the group to shut Pickens out. He challenged the secondary to hold Pickens to zero catches.
“He don’t catch nothing,” Walker said. “Even though I’m not the one out there covering him, I still don’t like him to catch nothing.”
Get your popcorn ready. The stakes and fire should be lit under both sides to perform at a high level this week. That will provide for a fascinating opportunity with Pickens now having the bar raised on him.