New Orleans Saints: Five awards for 2016, including MVP
By Ty Anania
Cameron Jordan: Defensive MVP
As I mentioned, the defense had a somewhat disappointing year. Injuries played no small part in that, particularly in the secondary. But depleted or not, far too often teams had wild success moving the ball against this New Orleans Saints defense.
Yet game after game, throughout the season, Dennis Allen could always count on one player to perform: Cameron Jordan.
Jordan has been the best player on this defense for a long time now. But I’d argue that 2016 was his strongest season to date. He didn’t post career highs in tackles or in sacks, but had by far the most TFLs he’s ever had. He was near the top of the league in that department. And that was plain as day to the eye.
Jordan consistently got penetration into the backfield, and was perhaps the single biggest reason that this defense saw such an improved run defense. He forced teams to run almost exclusively to the other side of the field. He was, for much of the season, unblockable. And it only came out after the season that he played through a knee injury for the early part of the year.
You just know that, if he’d had any sort of pass rush generated across from him from the other DEs, Jordan would have had a huge year statistically. But teams were able to gameplan for him exclusively. Add an improved Sheldon Rankins and a competent DE opposite, and you have to expect this defensive line will finally become a dangerous unit.