Jalen Ramsey may get more headlines for his larger than life personality, but Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye is just as eager to get back on the field and prove this team is ready to climb another mountain.
A.J. Bouye is in his second season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After getting accustomed to the team, players and system last year, the start of training camp and the goals for himself and the defense are simple – take things to another level.
He told the media after camp on Wednesday this defense doesn’t need to take a big jump this season, just get better as a unit.
"“I am not even going to say a big jump. It is just more of a consistency [thing], especially towards the end of the season, end of games. We dominated games, we had shutouts and then we just get relaxed,” Bouye explained. “That is one of the things that coach talked to us about when we first got back. The mentality we have out here running all these plays and stuff like that. We don’t trip because we know what it is there for and that we are trying to get better at.”"
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There were times last season where the defense as a whole let opponents off the hook, especially on 3rd-and-6, which is something defensive coordinator Todd Wash talked about during OTAs. The secondary, which also includes Barry Church, Tashaun Gipson and now rookie Ronnie Harrison, must do a better job of getting off the field in certain situations.
Bouye, who signed with the team last offseason from Houston, feels motivated to prove this defense is the best in the NFL.
"“All offseason, I was just thinking about that last game against New England. The first thing that we talked about when we got back was how close we were. What happened with our defense was in the past,” he explained."
In May NFL.com’s James Jones ranked the top 10 cornerbacks in the league. Jalen Ramsey was second while Bouye was eighth. Jones admitted Bouye was better than Ramsey in passer rating yielded amongst cornerbacks in the league (52.1 to 36.1) amongst cornerbacks who participated in at least 400 snaps.
In the first 50 games of his career, Bouye had six interceptions. In the 16 he played in a Jaguars uniform, he has six and led the team. If there is motivation for the former undrafted free agent form UCF, it’s he wasn’t named a first-time All-Pro like Ramsey. He said the team put up great numbers, but that is in the past. This is a defense that is a blueprint for others to follow.
"“There are teams that are really studying us now as a defense, but we are just going to be ready for everything. We are going to continue to make plays, Bouye said."
Being undrafted in 2013 still doesn’t sit well with him, and drives him to continue to be better. Also playing for a team that made the playoffs last season, but may not get the respect it deserves makes him want to prove people wrong.
"“If you all [other teams] want to sleep, you can. We are just going to do the same thing again, so I’m not worried about it.”"