METAIRIE, La. – Cameron Jordan’s New Orleans Saints teammates liked to joke with the then-rookie in 2011 that it was only a matter of time before the defensive end was moved inside to tackle.
But under Gregg Williams, that never happened and Jordan started 15 of 16 games on the outside.
Enter new defensive coordinator Stave Spagnuolo and suddenly, joke turned prophesy. Spagnuolo is moving Jordan around, including lining up at defensive tackle on occasion.
And it may just be the best thing to happen to Jordan and the Saints.
“I think it’s going to be a great position for him, especially in some of these pass-rushing downs,” linebacker Scott Shanle said. “To get him with his quickness and size over a guard, who are usually less athletic than a tackle just by the scheme of things, I think you’ll see his numbers improve.”
Through the first four days of training camp, including two in pads, Jordan has appeared quicker and more athletic than a season ago.
Look up and you just might see him getting to the quarterback. It seems to happen more times than not these days.
Ever the confident youngster, Jordan thinks what we’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.
“You know I’m just ready to be on this defense and I don’t want to put any numbers on it, but I’d hope it’d be in the double digits,” Jordan said.
As a rookie, Jordan finished with 59 tackles and a five-yard sack. He had one fumble recovery.
Under Spagnuolo, Jordan has moved both inside, making way for Junior Galette to be a rush defensive end, and dropped back in coverage. At 285 pounds, he’s more athletic than he would seem.
When asked about dropping into pass coverage, he responded, “Sweet feet out there.”
Acting head coach Joe Vitt refuted that Jordan has sweet feet, but said the year of experience he garnered a year ago will help him in his sophomore campaign.
“I think he can rush the passer inside,” Vitt said. “I think what he has really done a good job of is become a pretty good edge rusher on tackles. I think the second year in the National Football League has given him some maturity. We’ll see. But he doesn’t have sweet feet.”
He does, however, think the sky is the limit for his abilities.
“Having a limited role last year, with third downs and passing downs, I don’t really have a ceiling as far as what I can and cannot do,” Jordan said.