Since he wasn’t being asked to rush the passer last season, Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan ballooned up to 300 pounds.
But now that he has a coach who trusts him, and needs him, a slimmed down Jordan is beginning to justify the first-round pick they spent on him.
“It’s awesome to be able to have the trust from the coaches to be able to do all these positions,” Jordan told Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com.
Jordan might be the one qualified pass-rushing defensive lineman to truly fit into defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system in New Orleans, and he’s getting plenty of chances.
Pigeonholed a year ago as a run-stopper only, and subbed out on third downs, Jordan bulked up.
“Halfway through the season, it was like, ‘I’m going to be stuck in this role, I’m going to hit somebody in the mouth [on running plays],” Jordan said. “I don’t need to worry about pass rush anymore. It was a bitter moment.”
But unlike former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Spagnuolo isn’t going to blitz as much, wanting to get all his pressure from his front four.
And he’s using the now-285-pound Jordan all along the front four to try to get some push, the way Spagnuolo used to use Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora in New York.
“Everyone has comparisons of what I could be or can do,” Jordan said. “It’s more along the lines of, ‘What do our coaches think I can do now?’”
He leads all NFL defensive linemen in tackle. That’s partly because the Saints can’t get off the field, allowing the fourth-most plays from scrimmage in the league. But he’s also been noticeable in his impact, something that wasn’t being said last year.