Cameron Jordan didn’t find any consolation Friday in the fact that he is No. 1 among NFL defensive linemen in pass breakups. Instead, the Saints’ Pro Bowl defensive end only cares about these numbers: his zero sacks and his team’s 0-2 record.
He can’t think of a better team to rectify both of those situations against than the Vikings (1-1), the Saints’ opponent at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday and the team his father, Steve, made six Pro Bowls playing tight end for.
“I’m sort of disappointed right now that I’m not sitting where I want to be, and ... as a team we’re not sitting where we want to be,” Jordan said. “We have to get back on the right track, and this is a great game to make a statement.”
About facing the team his father represented from 1982-94, Jordan jokingly remarked, “He understands that he’s a relic, and that his time was good. ... He (was) all-world for them ... and I’m just trying to be something like that here.”
Born during the 1989 NFL preseason, Jordan was pretty much that in 2013, his third year in the league. He posted the NFL’s fifth-most sacks (12.5) and tacked on 2.5 in the postseason to help the Saints win 12 of 18 games and reach the divisional round of the playoffs before being eliminated by Seattle, the eventual Super Bowl champion.
Jordan has not had the same level of success in the sacks department this year. But he has created defensive havoc in other ways, knocking down three passes at the line of scrimmage in the Saints’ defeats at Cleveland on Sept. 14 and at Atlanta seven days earlier.
The one against the Falcons was at the start of a drive that resulted in a punt. One of his two in Cleveland came on third-and-9 and forced another punt.
Such plays may not please the masses as much as wrestling down a quarterback behind the line of scrimmage would. But they’re equally valuable, said Saints pass-rusher Junior Galette, who had 12 sacks in 2013 and one this year.
“With sacks, you can’t get frustrated with that, because when they come, they come in bunches,” Galette said. “Batting the ball down ... helps — just getting (the defense) off the field ... is production.”
Added linebacker Parys Haralson: “A guy like (Jordan) gets a lot of attention from offenses, yet he’s a very disruptive player. ... If you can (bat down) the pass, that’s a change of downs, too.”
When Jordan’s next opportunity arrives Sunday to deliver his first sack this year and taste victory with the Saints anew, it’ll be the second time he clashes with his dad’s old team. The Saints won the first matchup 42-20 in Minneapolis in December 2011.
He said he vaguely remembers attending a game or two with his older brother, Geoffrey — and whining about how cold the walk to the stadium was. He recalls a time when he rooted for the Vikings, but he noted that’s long in the past.
“We have to start setting the pace that we want to end up at,” said Jordan, who in July predicted the Saints would win the Super Bowl. “What better week to (do) that than the week we have ahead of us?”