New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan
Training Camp Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Considering everything going on how different does this training camp feel than the normal beginning of training camp?
"I'm probably more anxious about heading into camp on different levels. Just in terms of the guidelines, having 80 or 90 guys and then building. And sort of weary of what can happen in the COVID-19 times. And at the same time, overly anxious and excited just to get back to see another guys. I've been sort of in-building since March, rehabbing my core injury. So I never really left New Orleans. Me and the family stayed here which was great in terms of training. I never really got out of shape. I feel like I am in the best shape possible headed into camping. And at the same time, now things get kicked off. So hopefully we stay on the right path with the right procedures in place, but I think the Saints have tried to put (them) in place and we're able to get through a season. Of course I wouldn't say flawlessly, but a season nonetheless in the best way we can to pursue the Super Bowl."
How do you plan to do your usual community events with Covid going on?
"Not at all (stopping), if anything, it is just there's different avenues you can go about that. As people in the city know, you can give back through (great organizations like) Second Harvest (Food Bank), there's No Kid Hungry and there's so many different foundations doing such great work in the community. You can almost just try and help and pick one and try and join up. Again, it's just different avenues now for a backpack giveaway (for example). There's a completely new issues and you have to get your mind around the data divide that's really affecting kids now who aren't able to go to school physically, so now you have to rely on wifi and have to rely on laptops, ipads, surfaces, whatever the service to go to is. But there's so many different places where you can focus your energy on to try and better our community. Again, it's all about getting a little bit more creative."
Do you think there is enough time to get ready for the season?
"I mean, if you said, Cam, could you play this Sunday at midnight? I guess I would meet you out in the parking lot somewhere. I am ready. I assume, you know (from media reports), the team meeting we had (in April) and Sean (Payton) said I want everybody to come in and be in the best condition of their life. I assume everybody met that memo. Because I'm talking to guys like Craig (Robertson) and Demario (Davis), they never stopped working and I facetimed Craig and he just get out of a workout. I hit up Demario, he's still working out. So I know for sure guys are biting at the bit to try to get back to this facility to again, compete and try to win a Super Bowl. I do not know if it is going to be (significantly different) for veterans, guys know how to get ready and be prepared, but for the rookies coming in, they should have to follow the veteran leadership. The great thing about the Saints, I look around and all of the starters are returning minus (a few), (we) get Alex Anzalone back. I am thinking (on) defense, yeah (on offense) Larry (Warford left), but you also have Nick Easton who can be (a) supplement as a guard We brought in Cesar Ruiz to play whatever positon, knowing Sean (Payton) he might play slot (laughter), I don't know anymore. It seems like on the offensive side the more you can do the better."
How different will it be for you to not play in front of fans if that's the case?
"I prepared myself mentally thinking that every game's going to feel like an away game in terms of the volume. Because we talk about the energy you received from our Saints fans. You talk about the level of volume that the noise they create, uh, that is such a telling feature of our dome. I mean, when you come to the Saints Dome, you know you're getting the loudest dome in America. Filled with nothing but Saints fans cheering, jiving everything about it. So you feel that energy. Trying to prepare to now know that there is going to be a limited number of fans or whatever happens. We're prepared for no fans. You know that you are going to have to just deal with it. This is something that we will get by (on). We know that the Who Dat Nation is going to support wherever they are. At night I'll be at their living rooms this year (on television), but that's something that we have to overcome and just realize that, you know, come third down. It's not the hypiest season in the world with the fan, but it's a laser focus."
What do you attribute the teams recent pass rushing success to compared to your early years in the league when the defense struggled more in that area?
"Talent growth and a familiarity with the defense. There was a stretch of time where it was multiple D(efensive) coordinators. Year in, year out, it was a different change. As well as the swinging door for the team where you saw defensive guys come in and go at such a speed where there was no familiarity to it. Where you really see growth is guys, you draft well, you bring in guys that are great quality guys. When you talk about players like Craig Robertson, you draft guys like Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams, Marcus Davenport, Sheldon Rankins, David Onyemata and then you grow them. I think the Saints have done a phenomenal job and the way that they've seen their players mature and advance their football playing days. Of course you supplement that with picking up guys like Demario Davis, who's now heading into his third year now (and is) one of the clear cut defense leaders on our squad. And again, you grow as a team, you grow as something like family, like I know exactly where my guys are going to be. They know where I'm going to be. There's an open line of communication to correct everything without egos ever coming into play. And you continue growing and pushing each other to be better than you were the year before. And I think that's how you reach new heights. Now we're heading into, for most of us, most of the defensive starters our third or fourth year together."
How do you describe where Marcus Davenport is heading into this season and your expectations for him?
"I'm always going to say something like a freakish talent that you rarely see. To be, 6-7, 275, 280 pounds and move the way he does. Now it's all about lasering in on the subtleties of the game, the nuances, if you will, of the hand eye coordination, which we started to catch on strong last year. And all he needs to do is continue building on each year from (the) last. I mean, you have six and a half sacks and still didn't play a full season, so he (is) supposed to play the full season this year and I think we could be a special duo."
How about from a confidence level on Marcus Davenport?
"He better be, shoot, we have been (together) me and him and Sheldon Rankins and for a good spell, Trey Hendrickson have all had offseason injuries where we are sort of stuck here, just bouncing ideas off each other, working hard to get back to being physically healthy. But that's the entire D-line. Minus David Onyemata and Malcolm Brown out there competing, trying to push ourselves to not only get back to being healthy, but once you're back running, now you push yourself in a different aspect. So I don't know if anybody else in this nation has had what we've had as a collective here."
How has your process for finding ways to improve changed from say earlier in your career to now where you are like one of the best guys in the league? Like what is that self- scouting process like?
"I don't know, I think I always came in knowing that I didn't want to be one of the best, I wanted to be the best and whether I've achieved that marker or not in my mind, I can always go more. My mindset has not really changed much. I have always pushed myself to be better than the year before and I am still looking to achieve that. I feel like with our team and how our team has grown, we have potential to have one of the best DB cores in the game. When you talk about Marcus Williams, you bring in Malcolm Jenkins, now you have Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) on one side and Marshon Lattimore on the other, you talk about Chauncey Gardiner-Johnson or P.J. Williams and the way that they attack being a nickel, I think there's ability for us to improve overall as a defense which is going to buy me more time which will make me happy. At the end of the day, the better our defense plays that's all I can really ask for in the pursuit to a Super Bowl, because we all know defense wins championships."
What are some of the things about Demario Davis as a blitzer that makes him so effective in that part of his game?
"It's probably knowing that Demario Davis is not a blitzer, which makes you realize how good of a blizter he is. He can cover well, he's really great coming downhill, he's overly physical and that's what you want to see in your linebacker. Sometimes he'll put himself into a blitz and you're like, yeah, I was like, alright, that one worked. And you just sort of look at the way he attacks everything and it is 100 percent of all the times. There are probably not too many physical linebackers like Demario Davis in the league."
I think a lot of people are talking about how to stay safe with the COVID-19 going around, about risk mitigation. How do you square that playing the position you do where you're just lining up across from somebody and getting within a couple inches of their face on basically every play?
"Yeah, I honestly don't know how to answer that yet. When you talk about everything that we want to do as a team, everything that we want to do as a football player, personal goals align, and then you bring in COVID-19 and whether every time you get on a phone call, it's more information on how to protect yourself with more information on how it's was being transmitted. And at the same time you realize I'd like to say that we're going to have a way devised to void anybody catching it. So I hope that's true, but there's definitely risks when you have 80 people in a building or we chop down to 53 and then of course you go play another team, but you have their 53, you can't keep your eyes on everybody. I hope everybody's doing the right thing and at the same time, this is something that you have to prepare yourself (for.) I understand when guys have families and some guys are opting out or whatever it is and that is completely their choice when you have a family aspect and you have to take care of your family over this idea of making money that is life changing money. Again, when it comes down to being comfortable playing, that's just something that I've sort of wrapped my head around and at the same time, I'm implementing with my family a way to stay safe and keep them out of harm's way as well."
Did you consider opting out at all this year?
"No. When it comes down to it, I feel like our team's so close to a championship. You discuss it with the fam and we're on the same page of when you put so much work and effort into a team and headed into your tenth year with team, your love for the team, love of New Orleans is so strong. It's like, look, the family understands and pushes for the football season just as much as I do. And now again, we just have to figure out how best to go about, I would say eradicating a certain level of exposure."
Does this change how your family has to react to things this year? It's so easy to say a guy could catch it at a bar, but what if someone gets it from his kids at school contact or whatnot?
"Absolutely. When you talk about the family dynamic of it all, the level of exposure is what you're trying to limit. I was hoping that COVID-19 would be handled by the time football season kicked off as we all were, but as we saw our country and it's different approaches to COVID-19, you realize there's going to be something that is going to linger around so much longer as states open and close and close and open, which seems like a sporadic turn. When you talk about family events, we've got to keep our exposure down. Whether that be we have to homeschool, whether that be we sort of limit the family interaction with the outside family to the immediate family interactions, these (are) things that we we're still talking about, I wouldn't say fully discussed. We are still figuring everything out."
How confident are you with the protocols the NFL has as far as getting through this entire season without any interruptions?
"I go anywhere from a gauge of a four to a seven. I realized there's going to be some certain level of risk and exposure to Corona. So that's just something I have to be personally aware of and know going in that our level of exposure may be way higher than it was during these last five months when I was just staying at home and heading to the facility with my trainer, the physical trainer, and then heading back home to the family. Having 80 guys in the building, 53 guys and coaching staff and trainers, you have to be aware of the level of exposure to that is going to increase tremendously."
Can kind of get your quick scouting report on what makes Ryan Ramczyk so special from the opposite side of the line?
"Other than he goes against me every practice since he's been here? (Laughter) When he came in, he saw Zach Strief who was playing phenomenal at the end of his career, learned from some of the best in the game in Terron Armstead as well. He took to it like a sponge as well as I think he's got a demeanor that never allows him to be flustered. Some of these plays are happening and he has a phenomenal knack of keeping a level head and being able to regain composure and that's something that you really don't see is a way that he's recovered off of a move a lot of times. It'd probably be the demeanor which he brings to the game and (how he) has (the) ability to recover."