An interesting "side note" in the events this week leading up to the critically important NFC South Division match-up on Sunday between the Saints and the visiting Carolina Panthers, has been the back-and-forth war of words between Saints defensive end Cam Jordan and Panthers QB Cam Newton, over Newton's well-publicized sense of clothing fashions and style.
After New Orleans beat Carolina back in Week 3, Jordan took a verbal jab at Newton's fashion sense / choice of clothing, and intentionally (as a joke) made sure to reference Newton's "grandma hat", his "Coachella onesie" and even made a vague mention of Newton's possible love for wearing high heels.
Following that dominant 34-13 Saints win, Jordan also said "we romped him" when a reporter noted that Newton's 'onesie' might be called a "RompHim" instead of a 'romper".
As Charlotte Observer beat writer Scott Fowler reported the other day, Newton was asked for a response to Jordan's comments from two months ago.
"I didn't know he was a fan of my dress code," Newton told reporters. "Obviously he's been paying attention. Nevertheless, that's flattering to me. If he sends me his address, I can send him some sauce."
Jordan however, was (jokingly) a bit hesitant on his end of things when told of Newton's response; and quipped:
"What does sauce mean? With fedoras and tight pants, I don't know what sauce means. I'm scared. I'm good. I don't have the body for that. He's got a basketball-type body, so he rocks some basketball-type things."
Newton also remarked that he's noticed Jordan's own clothing fashion after games.
"I've seen the way he dresses too, so - not that this is a fashion show or anything," Newton said.
Jordan, who often wears clothes inspired by superheroes or other movie characters, had a response to the fashion show joke, too.
"If it was, I'm sure he'd win -- in France," Jordan said.
Now all of this joking aside, the Saints defense had better be ready for Newton on Sunday.
They might find "Fashion Diva" Cam to be funny — but they still to STOP Newton the 7-year veteran NFL quarterback and former 2015 League MVP.
As it is, the biggest difference between the Panthers now from when the Saints played them back in Week #3, is the emergence of QB Cam Newton once again as a "running" QB.
As noted by Fowler, the Panthers have all but abandoned the idea that Newton was mostly a pocket quarterback. He led Carolina in rushing for four straight games at one point this season and still leads the team in rushing touchdowns, with five.
Fowler says that Newton routinely carries the ball 8-11 times a game now, and took a huge hit against the Jets this past Sunday when he somersaulted into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
Fowler adds that Carolina will have no chance to beat the Saints this coming Sunday if Newton throws the ball as poorly as he did against the Jets (11-for-28 for 168 yards) in a game where it seemed that Newton’s injured right thumb was affecting his accuracy.
Which means that the Saints defense can likely take comfort in the knowledge that if they can stop Newton from beating them with his feet, then chances are that he definitely won't be able to beat them throwing the ball.
In the loss to the Saints back in Week #3, Newton was 17 out of 26 for 167 yards with zero TD's and 3 interceptions for a QB rating of an abysmal 43.8; in what may have been one of the worst performances of his 7-year NFL career.
And now he comes into this Sunday's rematch without his former #1 WR (Kelvin Benjamin, who was since traded to Buffalo) and possibly his favorite target (TE Greg Olsen, who is questionable this week).
However, at this point it would be a shock if Olsen doesn't play, and you can expect that he'll be out there once kickoff arrives at 3:25 Central time.
Nevertheless, while Newton may or may not have much success throwing the ball on Sunday, you'd damn sure better believe that he will take off and run with it the very first chance that he gets.
And as we've seen in the past: Newton HAS beaten the Saints with his feet on several different occasions.
As NOLA.com Josh Katzenstein noted the other day: Newton has returned to his running ways with at least 44 rushing yards in six of the Panthers' past eight games.
Jordan told Katzenstein and other reporters that he's not concerned about whether or not his comments from two months ago provided Newton or the Panthers with extra motivation, but that he does know the Saints defense needs to be at its best to limit the big-play quarterback.
"At the end of the day, it looks like he's running back to what he normally is, so we've got (our hands full)," said Jordan, who as Katzenstein noted leads the Saints with 10 sacks this season.
"Early on in the year, he was trying to be more of a pocket passer, and now he's back to running that high-octane, read-power-option stuff and it's clearly working. They're out there making some nice plays, so we've got to be disciplined and try and get after the quarterback."
That certainly should be the #1 priority for the Saints defense on Sunday.
While the Panthers are likely to try and establish the running game against the at-times vulnerable Saints run defense with veteran RB Jonathan Stewart; and their passing game won't be able to and can't be overlooked thanks to the Saints likely having both rookies CB Marshon Lattimore and free safety Marcus Williams OUT for this Sunday's contest, there still isn't any doubt as to what you can expect to see from Newton on Sunday.
Newton WILL try to beat the Saints running the ball, as he has done on several occasions before.
And regardless of whether or not they respect Newton "the man" for his clothing choices off the field, they had better respect the quarterback that can beat them with his feet ON the field of play this Sunday at the Superdome.
With everything that's riding on this game for New Orleans, they had better take "Fashion Diva" Cam SERIOUSLY.......