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Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Curtis Lofton was hoping to sneak into church a few minutes late last Sunday. But before the New Orleans Saints linebacker could get to his seat, he was greeted by a loud, "Who Dat!" from another parishioner. "I'm like, 'In ...

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Old 07-21-2013, 07:11 AM   #1
Threaded by WhoDat!656
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Curtis Lofton was hoping to sneak into church a few minutes late last Sunday. But before the New Orleans Saints linebacker could get to his seat, he was greeted by a loud, "Who Dat!" from another parishioner.

"I'm like, 'In church? Really?' So I got a good giggle out of that," Lofton said. "He was like, 'Oh I love you, Lofton.'

"That was the first time (in church). That was pretty awesome."

The love between Lofton and his new fan base is mutual.

Ever since he arrived as a free agent defector from the rival Atlanta Falcons last year, Lofton immediately started making himself at home.

He started putting down roots both inside the locker room, where he quickly embraced a leadership role with his new team, and throughout the community. Lofton said he made it a priority to absorb the culture, the food, the music and the people of NOLA - stressing that even before he arrived, he recognized that the Saints fans were among the best in the NFL.

"I just want to be a part of something great," said Lofton, who grew up in Oklahoma and was a star linebacker for the Oklahoma Sooners. "And I feel like just being here and being around everyone, it makes you as a player value your fans that much more, getting to know them and being around them."

Saints assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt said he has recognized that in Lofton, comparing him to former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita as guys who "fell in love with the community and became engulfed in the community."

Even during the offseason, Lofton has planted his roots here.

Last year, Lofton spent his hiatus between OTAs and training camp working out at Holy Cross with the school's trainer Adam Giglio. This year, he joined several Saints teammates at the Sonic Boom speed, conditioning and strength academy in Jefferson, working with local trainer Wyatt Harris.

Lofton asked around the Saints locker room for a good local place to train, and Sonic Boom came recommended by longtime client Marques Colston, among others.

"He gave me a warning. He said, 'Wyatt's not for every single player, but I think you'll like him,'" Lofton said of Harris, a high-intensity trainer who was a track and football standout at Southern and now works with top high school, college and pro athletes.

Lofton spent the past month at Sonic Boom working out with teammates like Colston, linebackers Martez Wilson and Junior Galette and receiver Nick Toon and former Saints receiver Robert Meachem, among others.

And he's been happy with the results. He said he's down to 235 pounds for the first time since high school - though he plans to play a little heavier this season.

Lofton also said he has had plenty of time to rehab his wrist after having January surgery to repair an injury that nagged him during last season.

Harris said he has loved working with Lofton because he has such a desire and willingness to do whatever is asked.

"That's hard for a guy that's had a lot of success already to come train with me," said Harris, who said Colston is another guy who has always been that way.

"And that guy there will be an amazing trainer, coach or whatever," Harris said of Lofton. "His eye for detail is freaky. If I'm correcting him, he'll say. 'I know, I see it.' Or when he's watching Martez, he'll see it if he needs to be corrected."

Lofton, 27, said he didn't always work this intensely during the five-week stretch between OTAs and the start of training camp. He said he used to think, "Oh man, some free time. Time to just relax, go vacation, party, whatever."

But as he's gotten older, the sixth-year veteran said he understands that this time is really when you should get in your best shape.

"That's grind time," Lofton said. "So once you get to training camp, training camp should be the easy part about it.

"So that's what I've been doing, and man, I'm really looking forward to it. I'm actually biting at the bit right now because I feel like we've got a lot of stuff to prove this year."

Lofton's emergence was one of the few bright spots for the Saints' defense last year.

Although he proved to be an outstanding addition, starting all 16 games at middle linebacker and leading the team with 123 tackles, the defense overall was a disaster. The Saints set the NFL record for yards allowed in a single season with 7,042. And defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was fired after just one season and replaced by Rob Ryan and a new 3-4 scheme.

"It's a sour taste, a bad taste. And that doesn't leave 'til you start playing football. And training camp is the beginning of that," Lofton said. "Like I said, man, we've got a lot of stuff to prove. There's been a lot of things said. I don't have to repeat 'em because everyone knows it out there. But I haven't been around a team like this that guys work this hard.

"These guys on this team, they come bust their tails every single day. I mean Saturday, me 'Tez and Junior, I've never worked out on a Saturday, but they said, 'Let's go get it.' So we came up here and got some good work."

Just one year into his Saints career, Lofton is firmly entrenched as a respected leader in the Saints locker room.

Lofton said that's what he wanted to become when he switched teams last year. But he knew he'd have to earn that respect through his work ethic and attitude on and off the field - no small task since he was replacing beloved longtime leader Jonathan Vilma, who was dealing with injuries and a suspension battle.

That's exactly what Lofton did, however.

"If you go all the way back, we have a history with Lofton," said Vitt, explaining that the Saints spent a lot of time with him before the draft in 2008, targeting him as a possible draft pick. "And then we go against him twice a year for the last four years and see how he is on the field. So when he became available, it was a no-brainer. A priority sign.

"But listen, you never know what a guy's gonna bring to the locker room until he's there. And now all of a sudden, in the locker room, in the classroom, his relationship with teammates, his ability, his passion for the game, all those things ... He's obviously been a great sign for us."

On the field, Vitt said he loves Lofton's zeal for competition and his physicality. He said he's a "big thumper" who not only hits you hard but "hits you heavy."

And like Vilma, Vitt said Lofton's intelligence and communication skills are "above and beyond." Vitt said he can't wait to watch the two of them work together side by side as the starting inside linebackers in the Saints' new 3-4 alignment.

Lofton will be on the strong side and Vilma on the weak side. And both players will have signal-calling responsibilities, though the team has not yet announced its plans for which linebacker will communicate with the sideline through a headset during games.

Lofton said he is also looking forward to the new partnership with Vilma, which reminds him a bit of the relationship he had with veteran Mike Peterson for part of his time in Atlanta.

"We've been really good together," Lofton said. "If he forgets something I remind him, and vice versa, we pick each other up. So it just helps the entire defense as a unit by having two guys that are easily capable of leading this defense."

Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite | NOLA.com
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Last edited by papz; 07-21-2013 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:29 AM   #2
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

i'm liking this guy more and more. Seems like a real class individual.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #3
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

Originally Posted by jlouhill View Post
i'm liking this guy more and more. Seems like a real class individual.
Which is why he wanted out of Atlanta.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

He's the man on defense......for now. Vaccaro may challenge for that position.
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:57 PM   #5
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

Vacarro, Lofton, and Jordan are the future leaders at every level.
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:24 PM   #6
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

Originally Posted by Spot on Dtan View Post
Centerpiece of the worst defense in NFL history.
I bet you loved him when he was in Atlanta...............troll!
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:55 PM   #7
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

Originally Posted by Spot on Dtan View Post
Centerpiece of the worst defense in NFL history.
That handed the failcants their first loss of the year!!
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:19 PM   #8
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

Originally Posted by WhoDat!656 View Post
That handed the failcants their first loss of the year!!
LOL!!! Totally owned!!!

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Old 07-21-2013, 05:44 PM   #9
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

Which one of these is our troll?
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:14 PM   #10
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Re: Curtis Lofton quickly emerges as New Orleans Saints leader, 'Who Dat' favorite

Spot on Dtan is an ok guy... From the posts I've seen anyway. Even though he's a Falcons fan he's been critical enough of his team to convince me that he's not a troll. Sorry Saints fans, but I gotta give credit where credit's due.
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