NEW ORLEANS — Cameron Jordan is ready to move around the Saints’ defensive line, wherever new coordinator Rob Ryan needs him.
Could be defensive end, his preferred spot. Or nose tackle.
As long as he gets to the quarterback.
“I’m not afraid to do it,” he said. “I actually love doing what I do.”
Jordan is ready to take on Ryan’s 3-4 defense, a change from last season’s 4-3 alignment under Steve Spagnuolo that led to historically infamous results.
Jordan is ready to take on a leadership role, too. Now in his third season, he’s in position to tutor younger players like rookie John Jenkins while still taking his own lessons from Will Smith and other veterans.
“You’ve got an abundance of young talent, including myself,” Jordan said. “We’ve got some old heads in there, too — veterans. It’s always fun to learn what they know and try and (learn) information that they’ll give up.”
Jordan is ready to become one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. His play last season proved to be one of the reasons the Saints selected Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro in the first round instead of a pass rusher they felt could be found in later rounds; Jenkins was selected 82nd overall.
Jordan, 23, led the Saints last season with eight sacks and played every position on the defensive line. He also had 76 tackles and led the way with three forced fumbles, making him the best player on a bad defense. The best game of his career was a 28-13 win against Philadelphia on Nov. 5, when he finished with three sacks and a forced fumble.
Can he be one of the best on an improved unit? The Saints certainly hope so. The better the pass rush, the less pressure placed on the struggling secondary.
Last season’s defense was tied for 25th in the league with 30 sacks. A lack of a pass rush against Denver’s Peyton Manning, Eli Manning of the New York Giants, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers led to a 7-9 season and no playoffs for the first time since 2008. After Jordan’s sack total, Smith followed with six and Junior Galette had five.
This offseason, the Saints acquired Dallas free agent Victor Butler to fit in with Jordan and other young pass rushers like Martez Wilson, Tom Johnson and Akiem Hicks.
“It’s been a lot of change every year I’ve been here,” he said. “So actually, change is becoming the norm. How are we going to do this? How’s this going to happen? It’s been changing every year.”
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