For Xavier Gipson, now is not the time to change what he’s been doing.
The undrafted rookie out of Stephen F. Austin made the Jets’ roster through his hard work and determination.
Now, that he is on the team, he’s not changing anything.
“It’s the same mindset coming in. I have to work,” Gipson said this past week. “I have to do this for me and the team. Also, just trying to get on the same page with the guys and learn their terminology more. I’m trying to get on the same page as Aaron Rodgers. It’s really just buying in, buying into the process.”
Gipson has a chance to contribute for the Jets.
When Corey Davis retired unexpectedly in training camp, it created a hole in the back end of the wide receiver rotation.
Gipson and fellow rookie Jason Brownlee may be called on to fill it.
The 5-foot-9 Gipson also could be a punt returner.
He returned kicks and punts in the preseason and the Jets have him listed along with Mecole Hardman as their primary returners.
Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer is already a big fan of Gipson.
“I think going back from his college tape, really liked him and worked him out in the big town of Nacogdoches, Texas,” Boyer said. “Really liked the type of kid he was and the preparation that he had. Even when I’ve seen him and you can’t help but root for a kid like that that works so hard and is such a good kid and is willing to work his way into a position. I think he’s done a great job since he’s been here and had one little hiccup to start. He has really settled down and done a great job. I think the whole return, you have Mecole and he’s done a nice job being a productive returner in the league and we’ll see where it ends up.”
Gipson was a two-time WAC Offensive Player of the Year at Stephen F. Austin and impressed during training camp and in the preseason.
He had seven catches for 79 yards in the preseason finale against the Giants and drew praise from Aaron Rodgers. Now, he will be playing alongside of him.
Gipson said he never lost sight of his goal to make the team despite some struggles along the way.
General manager Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh had some fun with Gipson when they told him he made the team, acting like they were about to cut him.
Instead he got the message that his NFL dream had come true.
“That was my goal. I wrote it down. I manifested it. I worked hard for it also,” Gipson said. “There were some bumps in the road, but you’ve got to learn how to fight. You’ve got to learn how to get through adversity.”
Along the way, he impressed the Jets coaches.
“X has shown dynamic ability in the return game, he’s a really good football player,” Saleh said. “He’s got great feel for space in the pass game, obviously he still has a long way to go, he’s going to get better, but the way he works, his intent, his mindset, you can tell he’s going to be a really good football player in this league.”
Gipson broke a few long punt returns during the preseason that showed his speed.
“I just thought about if I catch this punt return, if I can get 20 yards on this play, that will put us in great field position as receivers and the quarterback, the offense basically,” Gipson said. “I was just trying to reach that goal and make sure the offense could get going and score some points.”