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SmashMouth 09-30-2011 06:59 AM

New Orleans Saints rookie Cameron Jordan proves to be answer at defensive end
 
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In at least one sense, New Orleans Saints' first-round draft choice Cameron Jordan has fulfilled what the club had hoped for him: he is a starter. In fact, Jordan has started every game at defensive end in his rookie season. Although he has yet to get one of the glamour stats of his position - a sack, a forced fumble or, best of all, a sack that causes a fumble - Jordan has been there against the run. He has been credited with four solo tackles and three assists in three games.

http://media.nola.com/saints_impact/...4797-large.jpg

Bill Feig/The Associated Press
New Orleans Saints rookie defensive end Cameron Jordan has started the first three games. 'I would say he's kind of in line with where we hoped he'd be,' Coach Sean Payton said.
In all the hoopla surrounding running back Mark Ingram, the former Heisman Trophy winner New Orleans also drafted in the first round, it is sometimes forgotten that Jordan, a smart, very athletic product of California, was the franchise's top choice.

Coach Sean Payton said Thursday he is satisfied with Jordan's play.

"I would say he's kind of in line with where we hoped he'd be," Payton said. "He was a player we felt would play in the base as well as the nickel. In other words, we felt one of his strong suits was that he was strong at the point of attack, that he would be able to play the run at that left end position and provide pass rush on nickel snaps. Certainly he's in a rotation like the rest of those guys, but quietly each week he has improved and received a good number of snaps these last three games."

All of that might be expected to leave the 22-year-old dizzy. But Jordan, whose father is former Pro Bowl tight end Steve Jordan, said it has not.

"That's what I think everybody has in their mind, 'oh, I'm going to be starting,'" he said. "But honestly, I thought I just knew I was going to go out there and compete to the best of my abilities, and whether that meant being a starter or just finding my role on the team, I feel I've figured out a little bit of what they want from me. So right now I'm playing the run as best I can."

From the beginning, Jordan said the most difficult part of his jump from college to the NFL was intellectual -- absorbing the more complicated schemes of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. That task was complicated further, as it was for all professional newcomers this year, by the labor lockout that wiped out rookie camps and offseason team activities and compressed the already-steep learning curve.

Jordan's teammates said they are impressed with the effort they've seen thus far.

"I think Cam has come a long way," veteran defensive end Will Smith said. "He started off behind because he didn't have the OTAs, but with him learning the playbook and it all coming together, he did it pretty fast. He's doing well out there. He doesn't make that many mistakes. He's playing well against the run, and he's getting pressure against the quarterback, also."

Smith attributed that success to Jordan's inquisitive nature.

"He asks everything, just questions about the defense, technique-wise on certain things, watching film he asks a lot of questions to me and the coaches," Smith said. "He's very aware, he wants to get better, he wants to focus on the little things, which is a good thing. Where he's at now he's probably ahead of a lot of the other young guys just from his studying and learning the defense."

Defensive end Turk McBride, whose locker is next to Jordan's, said the rookie peppers him with the appropriate questions.

"Your rookie year, you've got to consider yourself a sponge, and whoever's around you just soak up as much knowledge as you possibly can," McBride said. "And he has done a great job on that up to now."

One teammate who hasn't received as many queries, apparently, is defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis. He said he has tried to convey to Jordan how much more physical the pro game is, and that message seems to have been received.

"He's a coachable guy, he's a smart guy, so I don't see any problems," said Ellis, who played at Southern Cal. The real miracle, in Ellis' opinion, is that would be true of a Berkeley man.

"After he leaves that so-so organization to come to the Saints, I guess we've got to let some stuff go," Ellis said.

Told of that assessment, Jordan posited it was merely a showing of Trojan jealousy.

"I think definitely within the first couple of weeks you realize that there's no way you can cut around not being physical," he said. "Sometimes before you could get away with finesse, but you definitely can't do that here. The thing that is different from Cal to S.C. is we grasp that concept a lot quicker."

Brainpower aside, Jordan noted his course work in New Orleans hasn't been easy.

"It was most definitely as hard as I expected," he said. "In college, you can sort of just grasp concepts just by word of mouth and coaches going over it with you. This time you've got to look at the league. I was studying every day, just to make sure I knew everything, and I still made errors, I still had some mental errors. So just taking it home, writing it out on my own, going over it, reading it, trying to go back and forth with it. It helps to provide some familiarity with it, but when you get dunked into a new system you've got to have teaching to do your best."

Although he said he thinks his own notions and those his father provided about the NFL served him well, Jordan conceded the level of talent across the board provides a sort of permanent incentive.

"You can't be mediocre and be here," he said. "That's crazy. In college you would face some guys that you knew you were quicker off the ball, or you knew you could beat them this way, but everybody here is elite."

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homerj07 09-30-2011 07:26 AM

It is obvious why he has NOT been talking to Ellis too much - Ellis sucks!!

73Saint 09-30-2011 11:04 AM

I have been singing this guy's praises since the draft. Was really excited to see what he could do, and looking forward to watching him develop!!

FinSaint 09-30-2011 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homerj07 (Post 335198)
It is obvious why he has NOT been talking to Ellis too much - Ellis sucks!!


Still, Ellis has been the best DT the Saints have during the first 3 games - at least statistically speaking.

darstep 09-30-2011 01:26 PM

All of the front four/five/six/seven need to crank it up.
Jordan is green and looks to be progressing nicely. Just keep the curve going upward.
This is a good week to see if Jordan/Rogers/Ellis/Smith are worth their salt.
MJonesDrew is how Jags will attempt to safegaurd their newbie QB.
If MJD carries 20-25 times, these guys upfront have no business with only 1+1 on the books.
Rogers/Franklin/Ellis need to own the middle so their QB is left out to dry with 3rd and long all day.
Let's see if we can keep these chumps below 20.

TheDeuce 09-30-2011 02:35 PM

I've been impressed with what I've seen out of Jordan... he always seems to be flying around.

IMO, the two new vets (Franklin and Rogers) have been the biggest disappointments.

lumm0x 09-30-2011 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDeuce (Post 335269)
I've been impressed with what I've seen out of Jordan... he always seems to be flying around.

IMO, the two new vets (Franklin and Rogers) have been the biggest disappointments.

Agreed. Ellis does not suck. He has played some games at a near pro bowl level for us in the past. He is just not consistently giving that performance. I too see him in a better light than our two FA acquisitions right now, but I'll give them time to learn the scheme and adapt. I still think Ellis can be a top notch DT.

I too am impressed with Jordan so early. I didn't expect he would step in a be a stat machine. The fact I've yet to blatantly be able to pin him as a culprit on a play tells me enough he's doing okay.

FinSaint 09-30-2011 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by darstep (Post 335254)
All of the front four/five/six/seven need to crank it up.
Jordan is green and looks to be progressing nicely. Just keep the curve going upward.
This is a good week to see if Jordan/Rogers/Ellis/Smith are worth their salt.
MJonesDrew is how Jags will attempt to safegaurd their newbie QB.
If MJD carries 20-25 times, these guys upfront have no business with only 1+1 on the books.
Rogers/Franklin/Ellis need to own the middle so their QB is left out to dry with 3rd and long all day.
Let's see if we can keep these chumps below 20.


Tom Johnson should be able to play also, which might bode well for the lateral run stopping, since he had great speed pursuing runners/receivers in that 1 quarter he was able to play against SF.

But I agree with you that this game will test the overall run stopping capability of the D-Line, and if they can't stop MJD it'll be a long day for those guys.

TheDeuce 09-30-2011 05:11 PM

Agree with you lumm0x... I've never quite understood all of the hate on Sedrick Ellis. Dude gets pretty good push and gets a handful of sacks every year as a DT. I suppose he could be more stout against the run... but it seems to me that he gets crapped on more than he deserves. Through three examples he has as many tackles as Franklin and Rogers.

Danno 09-30-2011 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDeuce (Post 335310)
Agree with you lumm0x... I've never quite understood all of the hate on Sedrick Ellis. Dude gets pretty good push and gets a handful of sacks every year as a DT. I suppose he could be more stout against the run... but it seems to me that he gets crapped on more than he deserves. Through three examples he has as many tackles as Franklin and Rogers.


I'm not sure its hating on him. We traded up to pick hium at #7. We thought he was gonna be the next Warren Sapp, but he was merely a decent player.

When we signed the 2 space eaters to play beside him many thought he'd explode. But he's still just kinda average. He certainly doesn't suck and we could do a whole lot worse, he's just not lived up to the lofty expectations.

Right now I'd settle for LeRoi Glover type performance from him.


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