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John DeShazier: Cam Jordan, Junior Galette have been bringing pressure all season

Posted Jan 9, 2014

They will face a difficult task Saturday against Russell Wilson

Between defensive end Cam Jordan and outside linebacker Junior Galette, the New Orleans Saints had one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL this season, a combination of mayhem and quarterback pressure that produced 24.5 sacks and helped New Orleans record 49 regular-season sacks, the most since the 2001 Saints posted 53.

And they’ll want to pad their resumes Saturday in Seattle, when the Saints (12-5) play the Seahawks (13-3) in a divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field.

But just as much as getting elusive Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson on the ground, Jordan and Galette will be looking to keep him contained in the pocket.

Wilson slipped away from pressure and out of the pocket several times during the teams’ meeting in December, a 34-7 Seattle victory at CenturyLink Field. He was Seattle’s best offensive weapon, completing 22 of 30 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and running eight times for a game-high 47 yards.

“That’s going to primarily be our job, not only keep pressure on him but keep him in the pocket,” said Jordan, who had 1.5 sacks last Saturday in New Orleans’ 26-24, wild-card victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia. “We’ve got to be focused and really hone in.”

That figures to be a difficult task, even though the Saints recently had success against a similarly mobile quarterback. New Orleans first beat Carolina and quarterback Cam Newton 31-13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 8, then was defeated by the Panthers 17-13 in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 22.

But Newton mostly was kept in check. He was sacked five times in New Orleans and four times in Charlotte, and ran a combined 10 times for 54 yards.

Galette said the reason the Saints were effective against Newton, especially the second time, was because of the experience gained from playing against Wilson on Dec. 2.

“We learned from that,” Galette said. “When we played (Seattle), that was the week before we played Cam Newton, so that actually helped us going into Carolina. We knew that we just couldn’t let (Newton) get out of the pocket or it could get ugly. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing the past few weeks.

“Population to the ball, everybody getting there and adding bodies, that’s what causes takeaways. That’s huge for us. We’ve got to keep getting after (Wilson). It’s not going to be an easy task but we’ve got to keep getting after him until he coughs one up.

“We know that we can do it. We’ve done it. So, containing him and keeping him in the pocket, making him a (one-dimensional) quarterback (is key), where he’s not running around, playing like he’s in the back yard and we’re chasing him.”

Galette and Jordan may be up to the challenge of a chase but for the Saints, keeping Wilson corralled and slowing down Seattle’s running game will be keys. In that regard, their hopes sound similar to what the defense wanted to accomplish against the Seahawks in December.

“A lot of things are similar, in that we still have to focus in on run game and really hone in on keeping (running back) Marshawn (Lynch) contained and hopefully, make him have a bad day,” Jordan said.

“And of course, you have to be aware of Russell Wilson and his ability to make plays longer and really get out of the pocket and not even scramble for more yards, but make plays down the field. He’s a great quarterback and we have to be aware of that.”


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