METAIRIE, Louisiana – Cam Jordan walked over to a desk after Wednesday’s practice and made a joke that he didn’t try to wait for the media and their questions while taking his time to eat a homemade lunch.
With an array of cameras and recorders waiting for him, the veteran New Orleans Saints defensive end took his place in the spotlight and said, “I know you have to kill me. Let’s do this. “
Let’s start with one obvious thing: Jordan, one of the most prolific pass rushers to wear a Saints uniform, suddenly struggles to finish quarterbacks in the backfield.
Jordan doesn’t have a sack in the first four weeks of the season, and since last season (including the playoffs) he has a sack in his last 11 games.
The dividing line between the Saints’ two losses – quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones mostly having clean pockets to carve out New Orleans – made Jordan’s lack of production more pronounced.
Jordan knew he was about to answer questions about why the pass rush hasn’t been good enough at times and what part he’s playing in that. There aren’t many right answers to give right now because the only thing that matters is action.
“I can say whatever I want (about this),” Jordan said. “At the end of the day, we lost. Let me think of something about it, we have to be better from now on. “
Jordan has been one of the NFL’s dominant passing rush forces for the past half-decade. From 2017 to 2020, only three NFL players recorded more sacks than Jordan (48). His 94.5 career sacks are second in team history, and Hall of Fame Rickey Jackson (123) is just around the corner.
This build-up of numbers and splash games over the course of his career means Jordan has built a reputation for himself as the person game plans are centered around. Saints’ defensive coordinator Dennis Allen saw it unfold last week.
“You watch last week’s game, and there are times when Cam has three guys blocking him,” Allen said.
The point Allen made when asked specifically about Jordan’s sack count is not to get too caught up in the stats. Sacks, Allen said, aren’t always representative of the effectiveness of a passing rush, whether individually or as a team.
Heavy coverage from the secondary can make a good pass terrifying. A quick passing game, like the one the Giants rolled out last week, can completely neutralize a pass rush, even if the defense has a decisive advantage up front.
However, Jordan will be in the spotlight. He came with the land after the Saints had dedicated a significant portion of their coffers to him from year to year. They generously paid him to get after the quarterback, and that usually results in a lot of sacks. If not for him, at least to make things easier for others around him.
If opposing teams send the kitchen sink to Jordan to make sure he doesn’t hit their quarterback, then the onus is on the rest of the passing runners to win their one-on-one battles.
“We have to be able to win over all of this,” Jordan said. “Our interior can play better, our edges can play better. Ultimately, he has to be on the defensive line. We have to point the finger at ourselves, we have to look at ourselves, we have to respond better.
Reinforcements are on the way. Defensive tackle David Onyemata has two more games to go of his six-game suspension, and defensive end Marcus Davenport is eligible to be activated out of the injured reserve (although it looks like he could return sooner. possible is week 7 against Seattle).
But to be at his best, the defense probably needs Jordan to overcome all the offense obstacles that stand between him and the quarterback.
Jordan has moved closer. Although he hasn’t recorded a sack, he ranks in the top 20 in the NFL for presses (10) and the top five for quarterback knockouts (6).
Those who are inside the building do not waver in their belief in Jordan.
When asked at close range if he was concerned about Jordan’s performance, Allen simply replied, “No. Zero. Zero.”