By now, you’ve probably seen that Cam Jordan had some comments about Matt Ryan yesterday. Jordan is one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers—arguably the best, at this point in his career, in the entire NFC South—and his word does carry some weight.
That said, he is also a Saint, which means we can’t take him too seriously. He also said some things about the other NFC South quarterbacks that weren’t particularly nice, including how much he loves sacking Cam Newton and how he thinks Matt Ryan is rattled by hits, if you can hit him enough.
Saints’ Cam Jordan this morning on NFL Network's GMFB on Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s $150 mil contract: “Love it. Get your money. I get that he’s a quarterback in our division, and it secures my job for a couple of years. He's one of my favorite quarterbacks to go take down, anyway."— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) May 21, 2018
This is not an uncommon criticism of Ryan, though a year ago he was actually better under pressure than he was with no pressure at all. Every quarterback does suffer somewhat from taking a bunch of hits, and Jordan has seen enough of Matt Ryan’s poor games to feel pretty confident in his take. But as much as the Saints have deviled Ryan—and Jordan has gotten his share of sacks and big hits in—I don’t know if this thought really holds up.
But hey, let’s look at last year. So let’s start with the second Saints game, last December 24th. Jordan sacked Matt Ryan in the second quarter of that game, on a drive that was already comically 3rd and 30. Up to that point, Ryan had some nice passes but the Falcons had been stymied by penalties and generally incompetence. Did Jordan’s big mean hit on Ryan hurt his feelings?
On the next Falcons drive, Matt Ryan hit Julio for a 23 yard gain before missing on two straight passes and then throwing the most inexplicable interception in human history, one that went off of Marvin Hall’s hands and onto the waiting butt of a Saints player, and then into Marshon Lattimore’s hands for the pick. I’m not gonna blame that one on Ryan. The next drive saw Devonta Freeman fumble, and the drive after that saw Ryan pilot the Falcons to a field goal attempt, though he was a bit shaky. Then Jordan sacked Ryan again on the subsequent drive.
Ryan followed that up by going 3⁄4 for 59 yards, only coming up short of a touchdown because (man, this game was nuts) Julio somehow didn’t break the plane to score a touchdown, even though we were all pretty sure he did. Ryan would take two sacks on the subsequent drive, which ended in failure, but followed that up with an 8 play, 75 yard drive that resulted in a 14 yard touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman. Ryan got the crap kicked out of him in this game, which featured a ludicrous interception, questionable goal line call, a fumble and multiple costly Derrick Coleman penalties, and it was not his best day overall. I don’t see any particular evidence that Cam Jordan and company’s beatdown of Ryan caused him to cower in fear.
In the first game of the season between these two teams, which the Falcons won, Cam Jordan did not get any sacks. That’s too bad.
I’m not saying that Jordan is definitely wrong, but I do know that Jordan is a confident, talented pass rusher who is feeling his oats after the Saints did not go 7-9 for the first time in a good many years. Perhaps this year, when the Saints crash down to earth again and Matt Ryan arcs a touchdown pass or two over his head, we won’t hear his thoughts about #2 again.