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Will New Orleans Saints DE Cam Jordan return to sack machine glory?

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It is no secret — the New Orleans Saints had their fair share of trouble getting after opposing quarterbacks in 2014.  Highlighted by defensive end Cam Jordan, who finished with just 7.5 sacks, numbers took a legitimate drop from a season ago.

The Pro Bowl defensive end did not match the predictions he made last offseason.  Jordan was aiming for 16 sacks in 2014, which at the time, seemed very realistic. “I’d like to average one a game, but what’s really truly important is just the whole defensive line getting after quarterbacks,” he told NFL Media’s Amber Theoharis and Shaun O’Hara.  Well, he didn’t even reach the halfway point.

While 7.5 is still productive, it’s average, it’s inconsistent, and certainly not near his potential.  Jordan led the Black and Gold with 12.5 sacks in 2013, finishing fifth in the entire NFL.  But it’s safe to say the entire defense dipped off a bit this past season.

The Saints are expected to build up their pass rush attack via the NFL Draft.  Adding veteran defensive end Anthony Spencer, who will look to revamp his career in the Big Easy back under Rob Ryan, is a start  However, chances are slim that he’ll post the stats like he did with the Dallas Cowboys when Ryan was still running running the show on the defensive side of the ball.

I believe the Saints already run deep with pass rushing talent, but inadequate production was the name of the game in 2014.  Cam Jordan’s skill set is undeniable — he’s big, strong, explosive and has the uncanny ability to dodge blocks and get into the backfield.

He often faced problems last season, seeing his fair share of double teams.  After breaking out in 2013, of course opponents would attempt to exploit him — it worked.  Jordan is a force to be reckoned with, but it’s tough to maximize your abilities when you’re constantly being manhandled by two blockers.

Cam Jordan would get better as the year progressed though, eventually finding 6.5 of his 7.5 sacks during the final half of the season, but it was still disappointing.

After a his superb performance in 2013, New Orleans decided to go ahead and exercise Jordan’s fifth-year option, which won’t make him a free agent until after the 2015 season.  Sean Payton and company clearly have long-term plans for him after extension talks were made public at the annul NFL owners meeting in March.

Not extending his time in the Big Easy would be a questionable call — Jordan is a solid defensive end with a high chance of sustained success in the NFL and several more Pro Bowl appearances.  Plus, it makes sense financially.  The Saints are set to take a $6.969 million cap hit from Jordan in 2015 due to the fifth-year option.  An extension would give New Orleans an opportunity to structure a deal that saves more money towards the cap this season.

Given his explosive capabilities off the line, and hopefully a boost at the nose tackle position via the draft for some added assistance, Cam Jordan certainly has the opportunity to reclaim his glory as New Orleans’ leading pass rusher and a top-tier NFL defensive end.  Can he recondition his status as a sack machine?  Without a doubt.  Will he?  We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m the liking his chances.  The team needs him.

Next: Cam Jordan in extension talks with Saints

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