New Orleans Saints defensive end Cam Jordan was fined $50,000 by the NFL for faking an injury during Tampa Bay’s 17-16 win on Monday night.
Per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Jordan criticized the fine, saying, “Most expensive fine to date from the NFL… added stressor for no reason.”
Jordan took to Twitter to express disbelief over the fine. He said he “clearly aggravated something,” but video showed “Jordan receiving direction from the sideline to go down.”
As Florio noted, Jordan’s position coach, Ryan Nielsen, was fined $50,000 and head coach Dennis Allen was fined $100,000. The league fined the team $350,000, meaning altogether the fake injury cost the franchise $550,000. All the team got for it was a humiliating loss.
Florio pointed out that Tampa Bay was facing a 4th-and-10 after a seven-yard completion when Jordan heeded the sideline’s command to fake an injury. The Buccaneers appeared to be considering a fourth-down attempt and they ultimately decided to punt. The ensuing sequence was one of the worst in Saints’ recent memory.
Perhaps if New Orleans told running back Mark Ingram — who was actually hurt — to stay off the field on the Saints’ offensive possession following the Bucs’ punt, they would have won the game. Instead, Ingram played visibly hurt, and instead of picking up enough yards for a first down on a 2nd-and-8 completion, he ran to the sideline and quickly took a knee. He didn’t return to the game.
Chalk the decision up as another ugly look for the Saints and a sign this coaching staff isn’t up to the task of producing a winner. Faking an injury on a 4th-and-10 doesn’t make much sense from a schematic point of view. The Buccaneers were at their own 25-yard line at the time. Had they gone for it and failed, New Orleans would have been in a position to take a 19-3 lead.
A defensive-minded head coach such as Allen shouldn’t feel the need to resort to cheap tactics to gain an advantage in a situation that is already advantageous.
The Saints proved losing is in their DNA by making numerous mistakes in the epic meltdown Monday night. Instead of being a half-game out of first with a month remaining, New Orleans is last in the NFC South and has no clear path to contention next season.
The bad loss cost the organization a lot. Jordan and the coaching staff paid the biggest price.