Saints defensive end Cam Jordan took time to visit with Bobby Hebert and me on Sports Talk this week. We asked the former Cal Bear if he was surprised that the Saints decided to bring in a new defensive coach.
“I’m used to having to switch. This is my third defensive coordinator with the Saints and I had two new coordinators in my last two years in college so I’ve had a new coach in each of the last five seasons,” Jordan said.
Jordan had a better season in his second season with the Saints. During the 2012 season Cam recorded 67 total tackles and had eight sacks. Jordan also forced three fumbles in 2012 to go along with three defended passes.
So what did Cam think about the Saints' 2012 7-9 record?
“The defense had a hard time learning the scheme in the first eight games, and then we started to pick things up, but it was too late,” Jordan said.
Jordan was the Saints #1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, as the Black and Gold selected Cam with the 24th overall pick back in April of 2011.
A good offense is a good defense, right? Well, when it comes to breaking down the New Orleans Saints defense, I think one of the most important things that can aid this team is a consistent rushing attack on offense.
In 2012 the Saints had the worst defense in NFL history, and the Saints rushing offense did not help to keep the defense off the field. The Saints had one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL, and if the Saints D is going to improve, the ability to rush the football is critical.
The Saints finished 25th in the NFL last season. The Black & Gold rushed the ball less that 35% of the time on offense, which is seven percent lower than the NFL average of 42%. New Orleans rushed the ball more than only three of the 32 NFL teams. And if you’re looking at the who’s who of rushing, playoff teams rushed the ball an average of 45%.
In 2012 New Orleans rushed the ball 370 times for an average of 98.6 yards per game. The inability to rush the football with solid consistency was a huge contribution to the Saints disappointing 7-9 overall record. Only Jacksonville, Arizona and Dallas rushed the ball less.
With some big questions looming about the Saints O-Line, this offseason a key factor will be figuring out who will be in the trenches. Left Tackle Jermon Bushrod and Center Brian De La Puente are both free agents. And, the play by Zach Strief and Charles Brown at right tackle was not up to par.
Last season there were several examples that exposed this weakness. If the Saints had been able to rush the football, they could’ve kept the defense off the field and possibly scored more wins. We all remember the horrible loss to the Chiefs in which the Saints failed to rush the ball and protect a double digit lead. And, more often than not the Saints fell behind in games and were not able to rush the football to give the team a fighting chance.
And, of course, the Saints rushing defense did not help their own cause…allowing a league worst 147.6 yards per game. Opposing teams’ offensive units kept the Saints D on the field and the Saints offense on the bench.
The Saints running back numbers were not impressive either. Running Back Mark Ingram led the team with 602 rushing yards; Pierre Thomas had 473; Chris Ivory added 217 and Darren Sproles finished the season with 244 yards. Not good.
So, Coach Rob Ryan was hired to help improve a poor defense. But, I’m more than sure Coach Sean Payton knows rushing the football will help his defense stay off the field. And, from the looks of what we witnessed in 2012 the less time the Saints defense is on the field the better the chances the Saints have to win!
OK folks, it's time for one of my favorite "off season" shows -- Who's your favorite pro wrestler? With the news of Wrestlemania coming to the Superdome next year, it's a great opportunity for us to head down memory lane and talk about some of the greats from years past. Tune in from 4 to 8 today to talk about Mid-South, JYD, Dusty Rhodes, and many others!
Scroll down to view videos of some of my favorites in action:
After the LSU Baseball Team opened the season with a sweep over Maryland and a mid-week win over Lamar, Coach Paul Mainieri likes the way is club has played thus far. “I think you’d have to be impressed with what our pitchers have done so far,” Mainieri said.
Coach Mainieri visited with Bobby Hebert and me on Wednesday’s edition of Sports Talk. He went on to talk about playing the Cougars and Lions. Mainieri remembered when his former club, Air Force, use to struggle when he coached the Falcons against BYU. The coach also praised the job that SLU Coach Jay Artigues has done with the Lions program up in Hammond.
The Tigers are 4-0 on the season and are getting set for a weekend series in which LSU will play host to BYU and Southeastern Louisiana. LSU’s pitching has been incredible early on with a team ERA of less than 1.
LSU has allowed only five runs in four games. LSU defeated Maryland 1-0, 14-3 and 8-1 and LSU beat the Cardinals of Lamar 8-1 on Tuesday. The Tigers will take on BYU Thursday at 6:30PM, then the Tigers host the SLU Lions Friday Night at 7:00. LSU concludes their weekend play with a Saturday night date against the Cougars of BYU with a 6:00 p.m. first pitch.
You can listen to the entire interview with LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri by clicking below.
With the Tide dominating in Alabama and the rest of the SEC getting tougher, it is safe to say that the LSU football program needed something this off season. I think we would all agree, and the numbers show, that LSU’s football program is among the nation’s elite.
However, the way the team has finished the last few years has not been an indication of an elite program. After their disappointing loss to ACC foe Clemson to end the season, the Tigers have compiled a dismal 1-3 record in their last four bowl games.
Plus, an elite program is not supposed to have one of the worst passing offenses in all of college football, are they? LSU has great talent, their facilities are comparable to the best in the country, and their venue is hailed as the best to play a game. So shouldn’t LSU be spitting out more SEC and National Titles? Yes, they should.
But first things first… the Tigers’ biggest problem was addressed a few days ago when Coach Miles officially introduced Cam Cameron as his new Offensive Coordinator.
Miles talked about his relationship with Cameron and how the two have worked together in the past. But Tigers Fans want to know: Will Cameron will really be in charge of the offense, as his title suggests he is?
Cameron represents the fifth coach in nine seasons that has been brought in to guide an inept Tigers offense. The highest the Tigers offense has been ranked since 2008 has been 51st in total offense, and the highest the Tigers passing offense has been ranked was a rather poor 67th.
Now, if we all believe in the current college football recruiting system, then the caliber of players that LSU has been able to sign to football scholarships tells us that the offense has been underachieving, to say the least.
Many feel like the talent is there, but Coach Miles has not given his past offensive minds a chance to do their thing, if you will. Will things be different this time around? Could it be that Miles did not fully trust the past coaches he hired? Could it be that Miles himself likes to call the offensive plays, and the OC has been the guy that has taken the heat for the lack of production on offense?
I guess all those questions will be answered now with the hiring of Cam Cameron. We have heard the words “trust,” “relationship,” “change,” and “restructure.” Those are words which lead me to believe that Coach Miles finally has his man.
“I guess there are some strengths that we have and I think Cam spoke to personnel abilities,” Miles said. “In other words, what a quarterback does and what a tailback does. There will be an ability for him to change and restructure. I think there is a need to serve the guy in our team that knows our offense. The disruption in our thinking is not something that we are looking to do. We want to use Cam’s concepts as it is appropriate and how it fits what we have done in the past. I guess what I am saying is that we have some inherent strengths. Reviewing our personal and being more efficient can rapidly make a difference offensively.”
Now I don’t know about you, but from that quote, I gather from Coach Miles that Cam is the man that will make the calls. And if that is the case, Tiger Fans should be excited. Although Cameron has not left his last two places of employment in the way coaches like, he is a coach that has a tons of respect from some of the best minds in the game today. In other words, Cam knows what he’s doing.
“We have absolutely discussed it,” Cameron said when asked about offensive play-calling. “To me it has always been a team effort. It is why we win. The head coach has a vision. He has a vision on how the game needs to be won with all three phases in mind. I think you can get in trouble when one guys thinks his phase is paramount over everyone else. With our relationship and the way Les communicates, it will be very clear what our plan is. We will obviously adjust and adapt that plan as the game goes along. But I would be crazy to not work with Les as we are putting together game plans as the game is called. He has a natural feel for the game and that’s a resource that I need personally. As an offensive coach you can get too dialed in on one certain thing that may not be in the best interest. But I know there will be communication. Whether it’s four-down territory, or how the score or clock factors in. Those are all things that will be critical input. I’m looking forward to the way we are going to work together. That’s what we talked about and that is what we will do. I think that is why we are going to be successful.”
So as the most anticipated off-season in the Les Miles era continues, I can see a rather large crowd on hand next month to see the Tigers and what the Tigers fans hope is a new-look offense with a coach that will be the decision-maker when it comes to play calling.
LSU Coach Paul Mainieri is excited as his LSU Tigers open the 2013 season this Friday night.
"I’ve been coaching for over 31 years now, and I still get very excited when the season begins,” Mainieri told me and Bobby Hebert as he joined the radio huddle on SportsTalk.
The 3rd-ranked Tigers open their 2013 season this weekend at Alex Box Stadium with LSU entertaining the ACC’s Maryland Terrapins, and he also went on to talk about what Tigers Fans can expect from the baseball team this season.
"It's going to be a little chilly at the Box Friday night but we are all looking forward to the start of the season," said Mainieri.
Click the play button below to listen to our interview with Paul Mainieri...
Coach Mainieri also went on to talk about the loss of coaching great Ron Fraser, one of the all-time great coaches in the history of college baseball.
"It was a great loss for me. Coach Fraser and my father were close and I learned a lot from him. He was a great guy,” Mainieri said of Fraser, who passed away last month.
Mainieri is entering his 7th season as the Head Coach of the Tigers.
In a very quick fashion, Coach Sean Payton has made new hires, let the fans know that last season was unacceptable and has changed the scheme of his Black and Gold defense. So as the work continues behind closed doors out on Airline Drive, fans want to know (and chime in on) which players will remain with the team and which players will be moving on!
Now you know how when a new coach comes in and says that “all jobs are open”… well, I’m not sure if that is the case here, or in the NFL for that matter. You see, you have to be realistic and it is impossible for a team to replace all of their players if they are unhappy with their production. But there can be major changes.
Fans have called in to our show and questioned the value of players like Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, and Sedrick Ellis, to name a few. Now we will find out if there are new players needed, or if Coach Ryan can bring out the best in most of the players the Saints currently have on their roster.
In 2012 the Saints defense became the first to open their own club as they are the first and only defense to allow over 7,000 yards this season. They finished the season by allowing a total of 7,042 yards, a league record.
I know that former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo deserves a lot of the blame due to play of the defense. But the players have to shoulder a big load of the way they played also. The majority of the performances given by the Saints defense were flat-out embarrassing a season ago.
During the 2012 season, three players would be named the offensive player of the week for their performance against the Black and Gold Defense. In fact, three of the first four weeks of the season an opposing player picked up “player of the week” honors after lighting up the Saints defense.
From RG3 to Jamaal Charles to Aaron Rodgers, when big-time players faced the Saints defense, they went off! I’m not going to sit here and tell you who should stay and who should go, but I will tell you that if we think that if coach Rob Ryan is going to turn the Saints defense around, he will need to bring in some new faces to help.
The Saints gave up 400 or more yards in 12 of their 16 games and the Saints allowed 500 or more yards in four games this season as well. The Big Easy title was ever so right when it came to the Saints Defense as it was easy for opposing offensive units to gain yards against the Saints during the 2012 season. It was not until the Saints eleventh game of the season that they held an opponent under the 400 yard mark and that came in a 31-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the dome Thanksgiving Weekend.
The Saints gave up 500 or more yards in four games this season and the Saints allowed on average 440.1 yards per game in 2012. The D-Line failed to get pressure on opposing QB’s at a consistent rate. The linebackers were a disappointment after bringing in several new players at the position a year ago including Curtis Lofton and the defensive backfield was once again torched more often than not.
The Black & Gold gave up a total of 454 points last season. The points allowed is an average of 28.4 points per game which is a franchise record of total points allowed, as well as points allowed per game, in a single season.
The Saints allowed 30 or more points in seven games last season and the New York Giants scored 52 points in a 52-27 win over New Orleans. The loss to the New York Giants marked just the fourth time in franchise history the Saints allowed 50 or more points in a game and the first time in the Sean Payton era the Saints allowed that many points.
And just when we thought the Saints defense had given us their worst effort of the season, the Saints allowed 44 points and 530 yards of offense in their blowout loss to the Panthers. If the Panthers had not taken a knee at the end of the game they would have gained more than the 530 yards which tied a season-high allowed by the Saints last season.
That outing against Carolina had to be the final straw for Coach Sean Payton when deciding about the future of the defense. I mean, if Coach Payton had any reservations about what to do with Coach Spags, it was clear a change was needed and a new coordinator had to be hired.
Now, determining which players will stay with the team is being done and for those players that have high price tags and low production, they should be a little worried, to say the least. It’s time our defense gave us more and it’s time to get some new faces to help.
Regardless of what Rob Ryan and Cam Cameron have done in the past, two fan bases composed of mostly the same people are most concerned about performance. Yes, folks, Rob and Cam can become heroes, if the Tigers of the Capitol City and the Saints of the Big Easy go on to win championships.
The Saints and Tigers needed to make changes. They did. Now each team's success will rely heavily on new coordinators brought in as a key pieces to a puzzles that hopefully leads to championships.
After sitting behind the mic for the last several years watching an LSU offense yearning for precision command and direction, and after watching an agonizing outing by the Saints defense during what was supposed to be a special 2012 season, I think we all agree these changes are needed, and wanted!
The fact that Cam Cameron and Rob Ryan were dismissed from their last jobs and probably have a bit of a chip on their shoulders, feeling like they have something to prove something, is a good thing for Saints and LSU fans.
In Cam’s case he needs to foster big success to wipe away his last two coaching outings. Cameron led the Dolphins to their worse season in franchise history with an unacceptable 1-15 record. Cam was fired then landed on his feet with what looked like the perfect job as OC of the Baltimore Ravens.
But after a disappointing loss to Washington late in the season, Cameron was fired and the rest we know is history as the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Cameron’s most recent success came back from 2002-2006, when he was the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers.
"I think the fans are excited about this," said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. "The LSU passing offense has not been that good and Coach Cameron has been over some good players in the past including Drew Brees." Drew Brees once told me he learned a lot when Cam was his OC and that he’s a very good coach. Drew was the NFL “Comeback Player of the Year” in 2004 under Cam Cameron, as well as being named to the AFC Pro Bowl Roster.
And on the “double R” side, Ryan also wants to get back on track after being let go as Defensive Coordinator n Big D! Coach Ryan comes from a family that has a deep defensive background and his brash, hard nose style should fit in quite nicely with a defense that lacked aggression last season.
Saints Fans should have a pretty good memory of what Coach Ryan is capable of. Ryan led the Cleveland Browns defense into the Superdome in 2010, shutting down the Saints in a 30-17 win. Cleveland picked off Drew Brees four times that day in one of the worst offensive outings in the Sean Payton era.
Rob Ryan has been a part of Super Bowl winning teams and Coach Payton is excited about his new defensive guru,”In regards to Rob, we have experience in preparing and playing against his defenses and they’ve always been challenging in terms of the different looks and pressures that they feature. We’ve had the chance to visit with each other and talk about our visions for our team and I’m excited about moving forward as we prepare for the 2013 season.”
Coach Ryan was over the New England linebackers when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI and XXXVIII. Rob Ryan also coached in the NFL at Oakland as the Raiders defensive coordinator from 2004-2008, then he was the Browns top defensive coach from 2009-2010 before spending the last two seasons with the Cowboys.
The Saints also announced that Stan Kwan has been hired as assistant special teams coach.
Do the recent performances of these two coaches, Rob Ryan and Cam Cameron, reflect the essence these men as coaches and leaders? Are they not the sum of their work? And, should we take comfort in who made the selection--Sean Payton and Les Miles? And, more than that, should we take comfort knowing decisive action was taken...now...and change leads to change...for the Saints and LSU.
If these two coaches are the spark needed; the catalyst necessary to ignite championship seasons for the Black & Gold and the Purple & Gold…recent history is irrelevant. It's all about the future.
When I heard the rumblings online that LSU was making a move at offensive coordinator, at first I thought it was just wishful thinking by fans. But, both CBS and NBC, along with other major media outlets, are reporting that the Tigers will pick up Cam Cameron as OC.
If this is indeed the deal to be done, I think fans will be happy. There needed to be some kind of change…but the one good thing is that everybody (if the report is true) will still have a job and remain within the department.
A change at OC will bring excitement, and LSU does need excitement. They’ve proven year after year that they have, without doubt, talent across the board. The fans have said year after year that they should be doing better than they have given the talent on the squad.
Now, I think we’re going to find out a lot about LSU’s offensive problems. I mean, this is the 4th offensive coordinator in nine seasons. Over the last nine seasons, the one constant on the offensive side has been Les Miles. This guy’s got a good resume, but will he have the same independence of the LSU defensive coordinator?
Like I said, Cameron has had success, and it’s enough success to make fans excited…but, then again, his recent resume is spotty. You’re kind of judged by your most recent jobs, and he’s been fired from the last two gigs. So we shall see if this move does take the Tigers in a new direction on the offense.
"Whatever it takes!" That’s exactly what Saints Quarterback Drew Brees said when I asked him how he feels when watching the Super Bowl and not being able to play in the big game. Brees said he and the Saints will work hard and do whatever it takes to get back to the Super Bowl.
In our final QB to QB conversation with Brees, Drew talked praised the city of New Orleans for the way everyone came together to put on a great showing in hosting the Super Bowl for a record-tying tenth time.
Drew also talked about Super Bowl XLVII as he gave us his take on the Ravens big 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
“I’m sitting here with my youngest in my arms and I will spend a lot of time with the family and recharge the battery so to speak,” Drew said when asked what he will do this off season.
LSU Football Coach Les Miles was all smiles this afternoon at the annual Gridiron Bayou Bash. “I think this is one of the most complete, if not the most complete class we’ve signed here,” Coach Miles told me right after he spoke to a large crowd at the Baton Rouge River Center.
Coach Miles signed 27 high school recruits to letters of intent Wednesday as LSU finished with a top five ranking according to some national recruiting services. The Tigers landed 14 defensive players and 13 offensive stars as members of the class of 2013.
Miles applauded his staff as they worked hard and were able to sign players from 10 different states. “We feel like we met a lot of our needs. Now we have to coach these guys up but we are very pleased with the class we have.”
The coach also talked about spending time with Jack and Jackie Harbaugh at Super Bowl XLVII and he went on to talk about what the Tigers need to work on during spring practice which begins next month. You can listen to the entire Les Miles interview with Deke Bellavia by clicking below.
"Thanks to the city of New Orleans for what is just a spectacular way to celebrate…I’ve never seen anything like it," said Steve Bisciotti, the current majority owner of the World Champion Baltimore Ravens.
The theme of Super Bowl XLVII was “The Perfect 10,” and if all the week long activities were not perfect, it was pretty damn close!
“504 all day baby!” That’s what an excited Ed Reed said after his Baltimore Ravens won the biggest game in sports. From the time folks arrived, to the celebration that is currently going on all over the Big Easy, the impression by those who could feel the energy of New Orleans from the television was that this Super Bowl was one of the best.
I know that questions, statements and comments will be made about the 34-minute delay that occurred after a power outage, but even that delay did not dampen anything that took place during this incredible week.
Did the 34 minute delay hurt the Ravens? Did the 34 minute delay help the 49ers? I don’t really know, but I know what transpired after that delay was one of the best second halves of football in the history of the 47 years of Super Sunday.
Who knows…maybe the 34 minutes did allow the 49ers to regroup and get together a plan to try and come back from a 22 point deficit. And, maybe those 34 minutes gave the Ravens a few extra moments to rest as they looked a little tired at the end of the game!
But that delay had no bearing on the game. The Ravens led when the lights went out, and when the final switch was flipped to cut off the lights for good after everyone left the Dome, the Ravens were the ones leaving the building with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
So to all who played a role and a part in helping New Orleans once again host a great event, hats off to you. This truly was the perfect 10. Now bring on #11. And for those Who Dats looking ahead, the Saints are currently the 6th favorite according to the odds makers behind the Patriots, 49ers, Broncos, Packers, Texans and Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLVIII at 18 to 1.