New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan
Post-practice virtual media availability
Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022
Do you think the reason some of the bigger games in your career being against the Falcons is due to your familiarity with them?
"Who knows. Whatever the magnetism is though, I believe in it."
Have you paid attention to Thomas Morstead this season and how he's doing?
"He's the leg. That's his moniker; "The Leg." We know he's got a boom, again, because he's monikered, "The Leg." Refer to "The Leg" aka "The Leg," Thomas Morstead's been a great pillar and great person in the Saints building for almost 12-13 years. He was here longer than I have been here. So, when you think of him donning the (Atlanta) black and red, it is what it is. But I mean, I wish nothing but the best for him because we know what kind of man, teammate, and guy T-Mo is. For him to be over there, it is an opportunity for him to shine. I think he's already been an NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, so that's great for him. But if we get a chance, I'm definitely going to put a hit out on him."
Did you notice that the Falcons did anything different with Matt Ryan in your first matchup as far as getting the ball out quicker than usual to avoid pressure?
"We always know Matt Ryan's had one of the quickest releases in the game. It can be frustrating not being able to get to him because you know his timing's that much faster (than ours). Last time we played him, he was in his bag. You know, coming up, we know we have to get there that much faster. Whatever it takes, being one step faster, that's what we have to do."
Do you have an explanation for why this team leads the league in red zone defense?
"I wish we led the league in every category, but we'll take that. I do know that our red zone and third down defense has stepped up in a major way this last quarter of the season. Honestly, it is the mentality of the more we can do to help our team win in whatever we see fit. I feel like that is shown. We put an emphasis on 'bend but don't break' and we get in there to try to make them earn each and every yard."
How motivated would you be to beat the Falcons on Sunday if the roles were reversed, and they had a chance at a playoff berth?
"They're the Falcons. We're trying to beat them at every turn we go. The fact that they beat us this year is still upsetting. So, beyond that, it's always going to be a Saints vs. Falcons, Saints vs. Everybody mentality. It doesn't matter what they're trying to do, it's about what we're trying to do this game."
Is it fair to say you'll be scoreboard watching when the Rams vs. 49ers score scrolls across during the game on Sunday?
"Yeah, if we're up by 50 points, I'll look over. When we're in between the lines, between the first quarter through the fourth quarter, all I'm focused on is trying to get a hold of Matt (Ryan) to force a turnover, get a hold of a running back and force a turnover, it is what it is. I think our defense has to be fully locked in for sixty minutes, then we'll worry about how the other cards fall as they may. We have to handle our business first before we look outside."
What has your message been to your younger teammates who haven't been in this win-or-go-home position before?
"Same thing as it was last week. That's exactly what it is. We control our own destiny right now as far as if we win, we have another week to play for. If we win, we have a possibility to play for another week. We're fully locked in. As you guys saw last week, our intensity is just a little bit higher. It's that much more. It's using whatever you have in the tank because it could possibly be our last game. We have to play like each down is going to be our last down. So, it just is what it is. You're guaranteed 17 games, we're at 17. This is it."
Has this season been more memorable than others in past year?
"Of course. You talk about Hurricane Ida misplacing us to Dallas, you talk about playing our first home game in Jacksonville, Florida playing Green Bay. We've had coaches on the Covid list, half of our defensive coaching staff on the Covid list. I felt like I was the defensive line coach for a week at one point. We've had multiple players down to Covid and half of the team, at one point, down due to Covid. So, we're going to do anything to stick together as a Saints locker room and Saints organization. I feel like our leadership is so strongly built in this locker room that we're built for adversity. We're built to overcome adversity. This is an adverse situation, so it's time to show what we've been built for."
Is there one moment in particular where you learned what this team was truly made of having gone through so much adversity?
"Yeah, the Tampa Bay game, the first game. Our starting quarterback, Jameis Winston, went down (with a torn ACL). A lot of teams might fold in that situation and a lot of teams might tuck their tail in for that last half, but you saw the resiliency there. There's been multiple times where you see something not go our way, but we were still able to overcome it. We went off to Jacksonville to play Green Bay. There was a little more green and yellow there than black and gold, which was rare, so it's a testament that Green Bay was trying to get out of Wisconsin too. But seriously, everything we've done this year has shown what the locker room has overcome, what the coaching staff has overcome, and what the organization has overcome, led by Mrs. Benson, were able to do. I think there's a lot of things, because we have the right locker room and leaders in place, we were not able to only push through, but thrive in some of the situations we've faced."
*New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway *
How would you explain your increase in production these last few weeks?
"Honestly, I just feel like we have been coming together a little bit more, just together as an offense. I know we try to go out there and score touchdowns every time we are on the field. I know that doesn't always happen. But that's what we go out there and do, that's the objective. So anything that we do is to win, to go score and whenever our number is called we try to make the play and my numbers being called and I've been trying to make the play."
How do you think Kawaan Baker and Easop Winston Jr. have performed of late?
"Man, they needed to step up and we needed them to step up and that's what they did. Whether it was special teams or playing a role in the offense that we needed them and they came through. I can't tell you how happy I am of them and proud of them. I told them when they was coming, I was like, it's been a long season y'all earned this. I know y'all probably never thought it would come, just the way CJ (Curtis Johnson) and the coaches are always on them. Always wanting them to get better and I know the feeling because I went through it last year (rookie/first-year experience), how maybe you can never feel like you were doing things right. Or maybe it was never up to standard because it's a standard to play here. And I kind of knew what they were going through. So when they finally got their chance to play, I told him, enjoy it, take it all in and I'm pretty sure that's what they did. They loved it, you can tell how they played. Just hope they get the opportunity to play again, a lot more at least."
How nice is it having Deonte Harty back?
"It is great to have him back. He always gives me crap and I give him crap all the time. But I think that is just how close the whole room (is), I am talking as receivers because, that is who we are with all the time. So I think the receiving room has gotten closer, as it should. From the beginning of the season, through camp, through now, I feel that we all kind of figured each other out and know how we interact, how we play with each other on and off the field. And as you see, the Deonte stole my idea of my scooter. So we rode the scooter in together. He called me when he got that scooter for Christmas. I was happy, I told him it ain't like mine. I got the original, you know, mine's faster, it looks better and I looked better on it. So I told him that when he first got it, but it's great to have him back not just as a friend off the field, but as a player on the field."
Does it feel real, all of the adversity the team faced this season?
"Man, like you said, it's been a lot, we could honestly write a story or a movie about this year, but like you said, no excuses. And I mean that's about it. You know, every team goes through (stuff), every team has injuries (and) Covid issues. Probably not everybody has been relocated because of a hurricane. But, you know, that just plays a part of it. I think it kind of helped the team. I know you said at the beginning, (we) try not look at it as something bad, but look at it as something good. When we left I think that was a big, big bonding experience for the whole team, just because normally when we leave the facility, we all go home. And now that we left practice or leave wherever we was at we all went back to the hotel and we all was in the same building and under the same roof. So I think that kind of built us closer together at the beginning of the season and it just kind of carried over. So whether players that wasn't with us at the beginning, or are with us now, I think it still creates the same atmosphere."
How challenging has this season been at some points for you?
"I feel like, everything happens for a reason and I mean coming into this year I had no idea what was going to happen, what I was getting myself into and I definitely didn't know that the season would end up how it ended up. Granted the injuries, Covid and the hotel with the hurricane, but I think it just made me feel like I actually belong here in a in a way, like being able to go out there and play, being able to have the confidence and a trust that the coaches and the players, quarterbacks, no matter who it was that was out there, it just built my confidence up. So from beginning to season to now, you know, lots of ups and downs, lots of controversy that happened. And it just all builds up character, all builds up personality and I mean playing somewhere else I definitely wouldn't have got this experience playing without the guys here. It definitely would have been a different experience. So just going and staying true and just trusting the process. That's all I can say about this year, just trust the process and whether it works out good or bad, you know, it just helps in every way.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver/return specialist Deonte Harty
What were the last three weeks like for you being away from the team on suspension and also dealing with COVID-19?
"Yeah, to be honest, I was bored. I didn't know what to do with my time. The first week I couldn't even come into the facility, so that was probably the worst week. The week after that, I was in team meetings, receiver meetings, and getting treatment. But, the last week with Covid, I didn't get too sick. I had some of the symptoms, but they went away pretty fast. For me, I was just bored. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't leave the house for one week and one week I couldn't be around the team. It was just boring, miserable really."
What's it been like watching Marquez Callaway have big games the past few weeks for this team?
"Yeah, I'm mad at him (laughter). I think he had two games where he could have gone for 100 yards. But it's major. Like I told y'all before, a guy like him, you just want to see him win. He has the same story as me as far as going undrafted. For him to do what he's been doing the last couple of weeks has been major, so shoutout to Quez."
*How much pride do you take in fielding punts and getting good field position for the offense? *"Yeah, it's definitely scary, but they talk about it all the time, having good (field position) yards won't pop up in the stat sheet, but you know, it's something that we put an emphasis on. I definitely take a lot of pride in it. That's part of my job, helping my team get the best field position they can. Even if it's not a 50-yard return, it is what it is. I am going to do whatever I can to help put the team in good field position."
What did changing your last name to Harty mean to you personally?
"Personally, for me, it was major. That's the man that has played the father figure in my life for 17 years, so, that was something I always thought about and wanted to do. During the holidays, I always told him, he's not an emotional guy, so every year I try to do something that brings tears to his eyes because I've never seen him cry before. It's always been a thought I've had and now seemed like the perfect time to do it. That is my guy, that is my hero. For me, it is an honor for him to accept me as his son, accept my brothers, and for him to let me take his name so I can pass it down to my kids. It is just major. As far as football, to be honest, I don't know. I think it's up in the air, but I think for next year I'll change the last name on my jersey. I just have to make sure nothing is wrong with it."
How do you think Easop Winston Jr. did filling in for you as the punt returner?
"He did solid. Not going to lie, I think there was one he could have scored on, I think against New York (Jets), where he could have scored but he looked kind of slow. As a rookie, I think he had a big impact on some of those plays he came in for. For him to come in, get comfortable, field those punts, and try to make plays, shoutout to him. I know this is the moment he's been waiting for, so shoutout to Easop."
Do you want to go by Harris or Harty when stories are written about you?
"Go by Harty."
Can you walk us through what it was like waiting on the suspension and what happened when you finally were suspended?
"So, obviously, we knew the suspension was coming, we just didn't know when. I have never been suspended before. Obviously, the legal system had their own deal with it and the NFL had their deal afterward. We ended up appealing and I played a few games after that due to injuries (on the team). Once the suspension hit, it wasn't like it wasn't expected, we just had to deal with it. It came at a bad time for the team, we always preach the next-man-up-mentality. It was not anything that caught us off guard. Really, it was just dealing with people outside of (the situation). Because, you had the people that first knew about it when it came out and then I had people DM'ing me and stuff asking me about it. That was really the biggest thing, just trying to stay away and ignore the people outside of football. I didn't get too many questions. The people that love me, they still embrace me and I'm still who I am. I just made a mistake and I learned from it."