If we're playing the name game, then we can stop right now.
St. Louis, led by defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long, wins. For that matter, so does almost every other defensive end tandem in the NFL.
But if we're talking actual production, if we're talking game-to-game impact and bookends who've been able to press the pocket from both sides and squeeze quarterbacks, then New Orleans Saints defensive end Cam Jordan and outside linebacker Junior Galette have plenty of game recognition, if not name recognition.
Entering Sunday's game at the Edward Jones Dome, where the Saints (10-3) will play the Rams (5-8), a quick perusal of the notes packet distributed by the Rams is a good indication of the name game, or lack thereof.
In it, the Rams pay homage to the "Dynamic Duo" pass rushers in the NFL this season, noting the most sacks by a pair of teammates. Quinn (13) and Long (6.5) are at 19.5, listed at third. The list is topped by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali (a combined 22 sacks) of the Chiefs, and followed by Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes (20) of Buffalo.
Absent are the names Jordan and Galette, who have combined for 20.5 sacks (11.5 by Jordan, nine by Galette). Not misplaced on the list – totally, completely, absent from it.
Regardless, Jordan and Galette have led a new-look Saints defensive line this season, one that has helped the Saints produce 43 sacks in 13 games, 13 more than it had all last season and already the most in a single season since Sean Payton became coach in 2006. The previous high was 38, in 2006. !(http://www.neworleanssaints.com/media-center/photo-gallery/Cameron-Jordan-vs-Carolina-Panthers/c28f49b0-139a-4e9e-9c62-c1c70424d33a "new orleans saints")
From a football perspective, Jordan and Galette come from opposite ends of the universe.
Jordan's father, Steve, played in the NFL and was a six-time Pro Bowler at tight end for the Vikings. Cameron played at Cal and was a first-round pick in 2011.
Galette was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, didn't come to the United States until he was 10 years old and was an undrafted rookie out of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala., who transferred there from Temple.
But where they meet in the middle is an ability to get to quarterbacks, Galette with his speed and Jordan with every tool in the kit – speed, leverage, strength, relentlessness.
"(Galette) has obviously come a long way," Saints Coach Sean Payton said. "He was a free agent we looked closely at. We saw speed and athleticism in the player. To his credit, he came into a real good locker room and really made this his No. 1 priority.
"That sounds like a given, but where he's at now is because he had a vision and he worked extremely hard to put himself in that position. I think that each year he has gotten better. He's extremely focused on his position and on his job."
Said Galette: "It's a credit to everybody up front, and in the back in the secondary. They're doing a great job, better than ever, since I've been here. You have probably a full second more to get to the quarterback.
"And then we have guys inside giving us a push that we haven't had. They all create pressure inside, up the middle, where a quarterback can't just step up and I can get the best speed rush that I can. In previous years, the quarterback could just step up because we didn't have that interior threat. Now we do. I think Cam is taking advantage on the other side as well. We're all just playing well together."
"Playing well" would be an understatement. The Saints have tightened significantly from last season, allowing 313.6 yards per game (440.1 last year) and 18.7 points (28.4 last year).
Jordan and Galette have been major reasons why.
"I knew they would be (standout rushers)," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Friday. "The sky's the limit for those guys."
At the rate they're going, their names soon will be – or should be – included in any name game.
!(http://www.neworleanssaints.com/media-center/photo-gallery/Junior-Galette-vs-Carolina-Panthers/09997d53-7a6c-4409-bbfc-84d7cc5d482c "new orleans saints")