Cam Jordan saw all of the new players on the New Orleans Saints’ defense.

Not just standout rookies, such as cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Marcus Williams, but also players in their second season, such as safety Vonn Bell.

‘We had a lot of new, fresh faces’

Jordan, the Saints’ star defensive end, believes the ability of the entire group to meld has been a major factor in the team advancing to face the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game.

“I do think that we had a lot of new, fresh faces, a lot of guys going from their first to second year, not only in the league but just on our team,” Jordan told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “So when you’re able to grow together, as you do in OTAs, when you’re able to grow together as you do in training camp and then go ahead and turn around and fight through a whole season, that’s what really makes your defense.

‘You don’t know what you’re going to be until at least halfway through the season’

“And everybody was trying to say, ‘What is our identity?’ Everybody on the outside asking us, ‘What are we going to be?’ You don’t know what you’re going to be until at least halfway through the season when you’ve been able to fight through a lot of battles with the defense intact. And it’s a testament to how well the guys have played beyond expectations, like Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, Von Bell (going) into his second year.”

For Jordan, the vast improvement of the Saints’ defense this season, as well as of the team as a whole, begins on the back end.

‘I can’t say more than enough good things about the defense’

“I can’t praise our secondary enough over the way they turned things around,” he said. “And you can’t turn around and not talk about the linebacker corps and how they’ve been able to respond. You can’t talk about that without talking about the D-line and how everybody’s been growing. I can’t say more than enough good things about the defense.”

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