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Cameron Jordan on Saints' three-year playoff drought: 'Maybe a culture shock needs to happen'

Cameron Jordan has been there for New Orleans' lows, highs and back again.

The defensive end has spent all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Saints and reached the playoffs in six of those years, but his team is currently mired in its second of two separate three-year postseason droughts since Jordan joined up as a 2011 first-rounder.

Mickey Loomis' tenure goes back even further. In his January end-of-season news conference to close out his 22nd year as general manager, Loomis admitted the team and staff has "gotten a little too comfortable" over the last few years, and that he wants to "make it uncomfortable."

The implication was that New Orleans' culture requires a change to get back to winning, something Jordan addressed during Super Bowl Week while speaking on the Around the NFL podcast.

"I've learned to not put my GM hat on," Jordan said. "I've played this game and it never worked out well. … You learn to shut the hell up and let the up top do what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to want more. We're three years dry of the playoffs. Maybe a culture shock needs to happen.

"I think there's a core group of our players that push positivity, whatever it is, and in fact I loved our locker room this year. But if our locker room isn't winning at a high rate, things are going to have to shake. One day they're going to be like, 'Hey, Cam. Your time, bud.' And I'll be like, hey, I hope the Saints keep on winning. Whatever it takes. I just want the Saints to win."

Jordan, the all-time Saints sacks leader with 117.5, is coming off a down year in which he posted his lowest sack total (2.0) since his rookie campaign, but he played hurt down the stretch and is the unquestioned leader of a defense that ranked top 10 in scoring for a fourth consecutive time.

Even heading into his age-35 season with a $23.2 million cap hit, it's difficult to envision an overhaul that casts him aside.

But the Saints are very much in need of a jumpstart. New Orleans is 16-18 through two years under head coach Dennis Allen, and the team has capped out at 9-8 in two of the last three years.

There's a hurdle that needs clearing, and with Allen returning and quarterback Derek Carr locked in for his second season in the Big Easy, any attempts at transformative changes will occur elsewhere.

The end of the season brought about this conversation because the Saints fell short of the postseason, but the end of their final game also sparked intrigue over vibes in the locker room.

Going into Week 18, New Orleans needed a win over Atlanta and a Tampa Bay loss to steal the NFC South. The Buccaneers held serve, and the Saints instead got a win and a last-minute touchdown that ticked off the Falcons faithful.

Already leading, 41-17, with 1:10 remaining and the ball 1 yard from the end zone, New Orleans lined up in victory formation -- only for backup quarterback Jameis Winston to take the snap and hand it to Jamaal Williams, who scored his lone TD of the season.

Then-Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was seething during the postgame handshake, Allen later admitted he wanted to take a knee and Winston revealed the decision was made by the players in the huddle.

The whole snafu provided a starting point for conjecture over Saints culture or any potential unrest.

A month later, Jordan provided his take on the matter. He backed rewarding an "amazing teammate" in Williams with an end-zone plunge and believes Allen and Winston won't have any gripe against each other moving forward.

An eight-time Pro Bowler with a decade-plus of experience in NFC South football, Jordan also didn't pass up an opportunity to take a shot at the Falcons.

"I'm so sorry the locker room really enjoys being a brotherhood," he said jokingly. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry we punished a rival team. I would do it again. In fact, I would've gone for two. The only thing I'm gonna have a discrepancy with is I didn't understand the ramifications of like, 'No, they were taking victory formation.' The Can'tlanta Failcons had already acquiesced. They were just trying to get it out there just like their head coach was about to get out there."

Jordan added: "Half of my gripe was Dennis ended up saying sorry. And I'm like why would you say sorry? Say sorry we didn't go for 50."

It appears that even with a head-coaching change in Atlanta and some possible culture shock to come in New Orleans, the rivalry will continue to thrive.

What remains to be seen is if the Saints will in 2024 following whatever changes take place.

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