Co-Host of WWL's "SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert & Deke Bellavia," Weekdays 4-8PM
Deke: Lofton - key to improved Saints D
by Deke Bellavia,posted Aug 13 2012 6:24PM
8.14.12 email@example.com - He once graced the cover of the Atlanta Falcons Media Guide; now he dons Black and Gold for the New Orleans Saints. Many Saints fans hope and think Curtis Lofton could be the best linebacker the Saints have had in a very long time.
“Ex-teammates…most of them are happy for me. At the same time, I have been called a traitor… every name in the book. They don’t want to see me, but it is all in good fun. Everybody knows this is a business and they just want to see me be happy…and I am very happy right now,” Lofton said.
Yes, the Saints scored a man many believe to be the best LB available on the market this off season. That not only helps a defense in need of a mean, hard nose, physical, “get after you” type player…it also weakens a divisional foe. And that’s not just any opposing team—it’s the hated Black Birds from ATL!
The Saints have obtained a tackling machine and in the process taken away Atlanta’s most consistent defender over the last four seasons. 492 tackles averages; 123 tackles per season… that, Who Dat Nation, is exactly what we have in #50 Curtis Lofton.
“I am just hungry. As soon as I step on the football field, I feel like I have something to prove. I want to improve and I want to be the best. Whenever the ball is on the ground, I want to be the first one to get it. If the ball is in the air, I want to get my hands on it. I am hungry and want to continue to be the best that I can for this team.”
Now, if those words don’t fire you up, I don’t know what will. And Lofton’s numbers are amazing; they back up his bravado. In three of his four years in the NFL Lofton recorded at least 100 tackles. The only year he did not was back in 2008 during his rookie season, when Curtis had 93 tackles.
The consistent play and ability to make tackles at a high level could be the thing the Saints defense has missed most in the Sean Payton era. Having a player like Curtis Lofton not only makes the Saints LB’s better, he makes the entire defense better…which makes the entire Saints team better.
And what’s even more impressive—the moment in time the Saints scored Curtis. He’s at his peak. Let me say it again…Lofton is playing the best football of his career. Not often in the NFL is a team able to land a player via free agency or trade at the height of his performance.
Curtis is coming off the best season of his young career. Last year with the Dirty Birds he was simply amazing. Lofton recorded a career high 147 tackles and posted one sack. Curtis became an even better pass defender. When he had to drop into coverage, Lofton broke up a career high seven passes, picked off two balls and forced a fumble. And, one of the interceptions Curtis returned for a TD.
So, Saints fans, we can revel in the fact that we scored a player who is playing his best football, and joins us with a new defensive coordinator who also has an impressive an resume’. Hopefully the two will create magic. Curtis said coming to the Saints was not about money. He wants to play for a winner, a championship caliber team.
“Money, for me, really didn’t play a part in it. Of course I wanted to be financially stable, but at the same time, I want to go win a championship. I want to play with great players and go to a great organization. When I came here, it was a perfect fit for me. I love all the coaches, had a great meeting with Mickey Loomis, coach (Sean) Payton, Joe Vitt, and coach Spags (Steve Spagnuolo)…and it was the best fit for me.”
Curtis said so far the defense is adjusting to new challenges, and with three preseason games left there is more work to do. “Some things that we are doing well…we are stopping the man in our seven-man fronts. And, I feel like we are starting to tackle well. Some things that we are not doing well…some leaky yards after contact. We would like to see more balls out and get to the quarterback a little more.”
So, Who Dat Nation, looks like the wait is over! A big time linebacker playing his best football has arrived in the form of #50 Curtis Lofton. And, with the addition of new faces like David Hawthorne (MLB) and Chris Chamberlain (OLB)…an area of concern now has depth, experience and big time players, who are healthy and ready to help revamp a Saints defense, that could be one of the most improved in the NFL.
Wow! Man, That's a double whammy, we get a great player and take one away from the idiots Atlanta FAILCCONS(spelled intentionally). Who Dats strike again!!!!
Rod in Sacramento
Correction: Atlanta FAILCONS FAILCONS FAILCONS!!!!
3rd down situations
is spags going touse hime in 3rd down situations
F- the Aints and that traitor lofton, cheating soundrals FALCONS ALL DAY BABY
We need some pressure from the d-line. getting lofton is gr8, but in my opionion if we don't improve putting presure from the ends & the middle ie: ELLIS. AND THEY NEED TO TACKLE BETTER!!! I see high school kids tackle better than some nfl players.