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Jets’ Sauce Gardner won’t back down from anyone with trash talk

He is The Mouth That Roars among the Jets, and no one is immune from his saucy trash talk. 

It could be Corey Davis or Elijah Moore or Garrett Wilson. Or it could be Zach Wilson. Or it could be Mekhi Becton whenever he returns from the knee scare on Monday that the Jets are praying won’t intrude on the best-laid plans of mice and Green and White men. 

Anyone in the vicinity of No. 1, getcha earplugs ready. 

“It depends how I’m feeling,” Sauce Gardner said. “It depends who I’m going against. If I’m going against the best, you’re probably gonna see more trash-talking because he probably deserves some of my energy. But if it’s some guy I’m just dominating, I probably ain’t gonna say too much, I’m just gonna let my game speak for it.” 

It is part of his DNA. 

“Yeah I always did that,” Sauce said. “It’s not just like every snap I’m just talking trash just because, but it’s gotta be something that makes me feel a need to.” 

I said to Sauce: “If you were covering me, what kind of things might you say to me?” 

For some reason, my media colleagues began chuckling. 

For some reason, Sauce chuckled, too. 

“Nah, I probably wouldn’t talk to trash to you,” he said. “I expect to dominate you. It ain’t like you’re out there with pads every day, man.” 

Sauce Gardner
Sauce Gardner isn’t backing down from anyone.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

I said: “You haven’t seen any tape of me though.” 

“That’s true. That’s true,” Sauce said, and chuckled. 

Sauce gets a kick out of getting in the heads of receivers. 

“That’s the good thing about trash talking, get people out of their game, they get to doing extra stuff, messing up their timing with the quarterback,” he said. 

He expects veteran receivers to spew their own trash at him. 

“Most definitely,” Sauce said. Asked how he will handle it, Sauce said: “I’m gonna talk back. Simple.” 

Everyone is fair game. 

“I talk to Zach sometimes, but he be smiling, we’re teammates,” Sauce said. “I’ll trash talk Zach … even the offensive linemen sometimes, telling ’em I’m coming on a blitz, they better be ready, you know what I’m saying?” Sauce said, and giggled. “They’re probably about 300 pounds, way stronger than me, but I just trash talk a lot, man.” 

Sauce Gardner participates in drills at Jets training camp.
Sauce Gardner participates in drills at Jets training camp.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Sauce has gained 8-10 pounds since the Jets drafted him with the fourth-overall pick and goes 6-foot-3, 198 pounds these days with those long arms of the law. “It’s actually allowed me to get a lot more fast and more explosive,” Sauce said. 

Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas played with Richard Sherman in San Francisco. 

“I think Sauce could be a young All-Pro, like Richard Sherman-like,” Thomas told The Post. “It’s not right away, it’s gonna take time. He’s gonna make mistakes, he’s gonna be a rookie, but he’s gonna get to that level. He definitely has the talent to be that level of Richard Sherman.” 

Sauce is a Jalen Ramsey fan, and Sherman as well. 

“A lot of people used to see he was mainly a Cover 3 corner, but he also was good at playing man coverage,” Sauce said. “He probably wasn’t the fastest but I used to just watch how patient he was at the kind of scrimmage, and his length, so he reminds me of myself, or I could see myself in him.” 

Sauce’s teammates absolutely love him. How many rookies trash talk? 

“The great ones,” Thomas said. “If you can talk trash as a rookie and back it up, you’re pretty special.” 

Davis caught a short pass over the middle from Wilson against Sauce by using his body to shield him. 

“He’s different,” Davis said. “He’s got the speed, he’s got the size and he’s real physical off the press. We’re always on our toes when we go up against him and [D.J. Reed].” 

Sauce Gardner speaks at Jets training camp.
Sauce Gardner speaks at Jets training camp.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Sauce didn’t say anything after Davis’ catch. 

“He’s vocal out there and leading the best way he knows, which is huge for a rookie to come in and have that kind of effect,” Davis said. 

The Jets’ depth chart shows both Gardner and Bryce Hall as starting at left cornerback, but the outcome is inevitable. 

“I watched all his highlights before they even drafted him, and he was crazy,” LB Jamien Sherwood said. “He reminds me a lot like Jalen Ramsey, he got all this swag out there on the field. He’s a trash talker, he’s very physical with his hands so I like that as a long corner. I think he’ll have a bright future in this league.” 

As Sauce stepped off the podium, I couldn’t help myself. 

“You can call me Sauce from now on,” I told him. “Alright,” Sauce said, and for some reason laughed. 

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