New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan
Training Camp Videoconference with New Orleans Media
Monday, August 17, 2020
You've seen Sheldon Rankins at some of his athletic highs and some of his athletic lows due to injury. How do you see him right now emotionally? I guess it's tough to speak exactly for him, but does he seem joyous? Does he seem pleased with his progress?
"Does he seem joyous? You know, John (Deshazier), you know Rankins. Rankins has the same face regardless. But the passion he has for football, the work that he puts in every day, the last couple weeks leading up into training camp, the start up anyways, it was me, Marcus Davenport and him doing get offs, working on our hand eye coordination, doing hand drills and really pushing each other. So how does he look? He looks like he is getting back to himself. And I mean, I can't talk to how he feels you'd have to ask him, but the way he's exploding off the ball the way he's you know, being able to enter his fifth year. I think he's doing quite well."
What are your impressions seeing Zack Baun on the field? It looks like they're throwing him in and not taking the training wheels off right away on him. How has he stood out to you for better and for worse?
"I feel like there's a very double D (loaded) question (laughter). I could not tell you what he's doing in terms of his drops. But I know that you know, our team clearly you know, DA (Dennis Allen and) our linebackers coach (Michael Hodges) clearly has confidence in him. And what better way than throw him in trial by fire and throw him against the ones. He gets heavy rotation in and we're just trying to see how fast he can form to our defense. I think that's something that will tell beyond the first day of pads. Everybody looks fast right now. That's all I got."
Are you feeling better about all the protections going into training camp? Are you feeling better about everything right now as far as the safety and the protocols and all of that than you did a few weeks ago?
"Yeah, I'm glad that I can do an interview virtually and not have anybody else in the room other than the cameraman who's about seven feet away, which allows me to have my six foot bubble. I do appreciate that. Now, I think that our team has definitely implicated exactly how our guidelines are going to go and (be) put in place, how we're going to go about things from the way we entered, where we exit, to how we're going to go through having rotations of who's lifting, who's not lifting. I think they've done a great job there. But this is a full contact sport. I can only hope that we've talked about the stories around the league. We have 80 people right now that we have to rely on, not only the 80 playing, but with the coaches, the training staff, everybody has to do the right things. So it's beyond just you know what we can control, it's about everybody doing their part."
The NFC South has seen a little bit of a quarterback shuffle. So I'm curious between Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and your former teammate Teddy Bridgewater. Who are you looking forward to playing the most this season?
"I'd give you the the answer I guess you are looking for but Week One, we have Tom Brady coming up. That's what I'm going to focus on. Until then, what is it 17 padded practices? I'm not sure how that goes. In the next three or four weeks we have Tampa Bay coming into the house. And of course, there will be no fans in the facility. So that is going to be awkward to deal with in itself, but I would say, Tom Brady's strictly because he's the next game."
Marcus Davenport talked a little bit about having to focus more on football this offseason, other than the other extracurricular things that he does. Did you have hands on, or did you talk to him a lot this offseason? Not hands on because of COVID, exactly. Did you talk to him a lot this offseason about his football and kind of where he needs to go approaching year three?
"If anything, I actually probably was hands on. I mean when in terms of the way we were lifting, the way we were conditioning. I had offseason surgery, he had offseason surgery, we really rehabbed for that first part of the offseason together. When I say together, we were probably like five tables away and on different numbers, but within the same building. The first part, it was me, Trey Hendrickson and Marcus Davenport. And the second part, it was me, Marcus and Sheldon Rankins. So I've had competitive rehab more so than I normally do. Normally, I go off in the offseason to Arizona and I train myself. This would be the real first year where it was just like, constant me pushing him, him pushing me whether we're doing sprints, running, whatever, if anything, I know in depth of what he can do. He has gotten stronger. We all know how explosive he is. I keep throwing out, he's a freak talent and has freakish type athletic behavior. And this is just something we're trying to apply to the field. We're just trying to make him a little bit faster. If he can go in terms of body and mind in the same spot, that's where you're going to see something special this year."
What are your initial thoughts are having Malcolm Jenkins back on the field with you? It has been seven years since you've been teammates on the field?
"Yeah, it's been a long time, but (I'm) super excited to have him back. I mean, everybody knows he's one of those field generals. He's just, he's so savvy to the game in terms of everything that he's seen. He has championship mentality, not only here, but then he left and went to go win a championship, with Philadelphia, and now he's back. We're trying to create that same feel, (that same culture. And I feel like we have that power to do so in terms of our defense, in terms of (our) offense, we're creating the perfect little window for this year. I wish it had been under normal circumstances so everybody could come witness the work that we're putting in right now. With that being said, (I'm) super excited to have him with the DB core."
What's kind of been the reception from your teammates about your hair?
"The curls were hitting way harder. The Jheri curl was smashing the first day. But now we are like three weeks in, (and) it has a little wiggle to it. It is a little airy. I have dreams, hopes and goals. I am not saying I am channeling my inner 80s, 90s vibes, but, I am feeling good about it. The reception is, pork chop sideburns are winners."
What have you thought about Jameis Winston so far?
"When it comes down to it, you have a guy who has thrown for 5,000 yards. We've got a guy who was continually an adversary in our own conference. So him being behind Drew Brees, taking reps, him, Drew, Taysom (Hill), all being in that same situation in terms of trying to better each other. When he does get a chance, if he does get a chance, you know he's going to shine. So what we've seen from him, he's just so avid about learning, avid about learning the minor caveats from Sean (Payton) and from Drew and just really throwing in his input. As a defensive guy, I'm loving it. Honestly I feel that we're in a great position if we have to do something like we did last year (when Brees got hurt and Teddy Bridgewater played."
Does anything about having you know, these two really good corners, how do they help you when you have guys that can cover like that. Does anything about the way you rush the passer change based on if it's you know, press or zone or anything like that?
"No. I love that we have guys who can do both press and zone, I love that. In my mind, they have given me another half second, which is another step or two. But at the end of the day, I'm always trying to get 1% better, I"m always trying to get 1% faster, always trying to get, like a 1% cleaner rep off the next rep. So if anything, I'm just trying not to utilize the whole three seconds that I know that they can give us."
Your endurance has always been something that makes you such a special player. And I know a couple weeks ago, you mentioned that because you were able to train at the facility and whatnot, you felt like you were in the best shape that you've ever been in. Have you seen or felt a difference through this ramp up period and even into practice?
"Other than not ever getting tired? No honestly, I just feel a little bit stronger. I know I'm a little bit more explosive off the stance and just think that, overall it is going to help me be able to push my guys like Marcus (Davenport), David Onyemata and Sheldon Rankins. It will just be a little bit more of a fast twitch, and if we can get again, 1% better across the D-Line, we're going to be in a great place. So really, you know, I feel that I've honed my body into a weapon already. Accept, going through my way of doing things and honestly having to corral some people to do our way of life. I feel like everybody's on the same mentality, same page this year, we've got to win the Super Bowl. So if we have a full season, let's give our best chance to do so. And that's what we're pushing for right now. It's not about me being the best that I can be, it's about me being the best that I can be, being able to push Sheldon to be the best that he can be, Sheldon being the best that he can be, being able to push me and Marcus to be the best that we can be. It comes full circle. So it's not just about how I feel, even though I do feel great, as my hair will tell you. But, it's about our defensive line being as great as we can be, pushing our defense to be as best as we can be."
Obviously, losing Rankins last year, I mean, it stinks, but do you feel like that gave Onyemata an opportunity to see a big growth in his game?
"I think the way Sheldon and David were playing early on last year led to David's growth late in the year. They were both hitting a stride, and when Sheldon went down, it hurt us. But at the same time, David still was growing. Now, I think he's shown a lot of what he can do. And I think he was rewarded adequately, probably underpaid, actually. But, you know, that's just my take."