Cameron Jordan believes he's trending in the right direction and in his case, trust the eyes more than the numbers.
Obviously, the numbers aren't yet matching what the three-time All-Pro defensive end commonly has produced in a five-game stretch: 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and 27 tackles, a year after he posted a career-high 15.5 sacks and tossed in 25 quarterback hits and 15 tackles for loss, with 53 tackles.
But a closer look at the last two games – where he posted all his sack total, 14 of his 27 tackles, two of the three quarterback hits and three of the four tackles for loss – suggests that the five-time Pro Bowler isn't grading on a curve.
"I mean, at this point, I think my emphasis has been playing the run and trying to get to the quarterback, affect the quarterback," he said. "Overcoming double teams, nudges, chips, is just excuses. At the end of the day, this is a game of results.
"I know we're 3-2 and we've still got 11 games left, so I think as a team, we're going to be trending upward. We've got a lot of things we've got to correct and I think every week, we're gaining a little bit more of what we can do."
What Jordan does, and can do, has been affected by the way offenses are preparing for his mayhem.
Double teams, nudges and chips have become his new norm. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Jordan's teammates along the defensive line have noted how often it is that Jordan draws extra attention, and figure that Jordan's production soon will again match his effort.
"Well, I can tell you this," said defensive end Trey Hendrickson, whose 4.5 sacks leads the team. "Last year on Thanksgiving, he had four (sacks, against Atlanta).
"So the guy is pretty unblockable, and I've had the pleasure of playing with him for the last four years. That guy knows how to bring it every day, every practice and I wouldn't bet against him."
Especially not now, with Jordan getting acclimated to the attention and seeing his teammates prosper, which, in turn, is forcing opponents to direct more resources to them.
"With more and more reps, you get more," Jordan said. "So now, you know, you're being effective and the same time, each one of those pass rushing and each one of those opportunities, able to then process at the end game and get better from. So each game is one step faster, each game – just the process of how you go about attacking, and now you've seen a lot more production.
"I think I said it early on, if I'm getting double-teamed, we should have somebody else getting singles. If somebody's getting singles, we have to win those singles. And I think Trey Hendrickson has done a phenomenal job winning his singles. And the world is starting to take notice that he's coming off the edge and playing high level football, which is now, he may get a couple nudges, which means I've got to win my singles. It is going to be a beautiful thing. It all comes full circle."