by Kristian Garic, Kristian@wwl.com,posted Mar 16 2012 8:53AM
The Saints have their eye on a "dirty" bird in free agency.
New Orleans has scheduled a visit with free agent middle linebacker Curtis Lofton. The Saints currently have visits scheduled with four linebackers in free agency. Lofton is a four year veteran with a pension for stuffing the run. With the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, the former 2nd round pick racked up 147 tackles. Wow! That's flying around! I love this move for the Black and Gold if they are able to get a deal done with Lofton. He's 25-years-old (4 years younger than current middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma) and extremely durable. Lofton hasn't missed a game in his four years in the NFL due to injury.
Lofton is outstanding against the run, but WWL's Bobby Hebert thinks the Saints might have to come up with another answer on third down as the "nickel" backer.
"He's a little bit of a liability in pass coverage, he can be exposed there. So you might need to look at someone that is more athletic on passing downs," Hebert said.
Lofton is a clear cut middle linebacker. He isn't being brought in to fill a void at outside linebacker or provide depth inside. Clearly the Saints are thinking about life post-Vilma. If the Saints sign Lofton, it's a virtual certainty that Vilma will be released.
"It's always better to get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late," said NFL analyst Mike Detillier.
The Saints "master plan" is starting to come into focus. New Orleans wants to upgrade their linebacking positions. The team will also visit with linebackers David Hawthorne, Joe Mays and Chris Chamberlain in the coming days.
I'm not ready to see Vilma go yet! I think it is too early.
Could the strating trio be Lofton at mike and Vilma and Dunbar at the sam and will positions? Restructure Vilma's contract, resign Dunbar, cut Shanle, resign Casillas, and utilize Wilson.
Saints owner mr. "what's the delay"
We are loosing all our good players! Meachem, porter has a visit with the raiders and we just lost nicks! He is delaying to sign drew brees! Whats the delay! If he does not sign drew brees and give him a contract i will never purchase tickets are watch another saints game again ! As for everyone i talk to they are angry at the owner for the no contract for brees! If we loose drew brees the saints are done with ,and its all the owners fault! There is NO-ONE that agrees with the owners decision to put a franchise tag on drew brees and make him wait to sign a contract! Im angry and never will watch another saints game if drew leaves!!!
Can Vilma play sam or will? I like Vilma, and he can work against the run or the pass, but Lofton is weak against the pass. Spagnolo doesn't blitz a lot, so if we have to chose between Vilma or Lofton, I want someone flexible.
Agree w/ the guy before, though, if Vilma can play the will or sam, (I'd want him on the sam, personally, but I'm more of a blitzer than Spagnolo, I think that with Lofton at mike and Dunbar at will would be a great set. I just don't want Dunbar to get shorted. I think he's under-rated and the best we have after Vilma. He can play any linebacker position in the 4-3, he's a ballhawk and a hard hitter. I don't think he's someone we should let slip away.
I guess on passing downs, we could move Dunbar to mike and put Casillas at will if we get Lofton? But do we want to pay Lofton full starter money and risk losing Vilma who can play on all downs, if Lofton has to be pulled on passing downs?