Cam Jordan, Junior Galette must lead the way for the New Orleans Saints defense
By John Hendrix
The NFL is constantly changing. Quarterbacks are getting the ball out faster. Overall, the game of football is much quicker than it was ten to fifteen years ago. With consistently evolving offenses, it means defenses must solve for the equation. The New Orleans Saints have such a problem on their hand.
When Rob Ryan entered the picture in 2013, expectations were high. Not only did he help turn around the league’s worst defense in NFL history, but also helped the squad turn in their best sack effort since 2000. Ryan’s squad finished with 49 sacks in 2013, the highest under any Sean Payton squad. In 2000, the black and gold were led by players like La’Roi Glover, Joe Johnson, and Darren Howard. They finished with 66 sacks that season. Not even the esteemed Dome Patrol had that many in any of their seasons.
2014 (Ryan) – 30
2013 (Ryan) – 49
2012 (Spagnuolo) – 30
2011 (Williams) – 33
2010 (Williams) – 33
2009 (Williams) – 35
2008 (Gibbs) – 28
2007 (Gibbs) – 32
2006 (Gibbs) – 38
The Saints defense regressed from their 2013 output by finishing with only 30 sacks, which was only good for 25th in the league. Junior Galette and Cam Jordan once again led the way for the Saints, finishing with 17.5 sacks combined. Here’s a breakdown of how the two have looked in the past several seasons with the New Orleans Saints, courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
The common theme is pressure. Teams like the Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams, and Cincinnati Bengals were notorious for getting after the quarterback last year. Each of those respective clubs finished over 50 sacks. Unfortunately, the Rams were the only team to not benefit from the production, as their woes on offense didn’t help their bid for a playoff spot.
As for the Saints, Galette and Jordan now combine for a lot of lettuce in regards to the salary cap. Before this move, the Saints were sitting at roughly $750K above the cap. Jordan’s new deal guarantees him $33 million, and is worth $60 million total. Galette’s deal from a season ago gave him $23 million guaranteed, and was worth $45.3 million. Galette is set to become a free agent in 2020, while Jordan will become a free agent in 2021. With a hefty pay-day and nearly $100 million combined, they are now expected to produce and contribute even more.
It’s been a fairly ugly offseason for both Cam Jordan and Junior Galette. Jordan was the subject of many trade rumors leading up to the draft, and Galette had issues off the field with alleged domestic violence. Galette removed himself from Twitter, where he spoke out freely more than a couple of times, but all accounts are saying that he’s matured tremendously since the incident.
Most of the focus on defense centers around the revamped secondary and attractive additions of rookies like Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha at linebacker. However, the Saints defense has to see Cam Jordan and Junior Galette leading the charge, and ultimately setting the standard in getting after the quarterback in 2015. It’s crucial to see these two ‘sack artists’ take their game to another level if the Saints want to make it into the postseason.
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