Q&A: Curtis Lofton sees a top 10 defense

Curtis Lofton being interviewed by Britton Lynn, a University of Alabama student who's a finalist to become the Falcons Taco Maco Insider. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Curtis Lofton being interviewed by Britton Lynn, a University of Alabama student who was a finalist to become the Falcons Taco Maco Insider. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Flowery Branch — Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton was tied for sixth in the league in tackles with 133 last season, according to NFL.com stats.

Only three middle linebackers – Washington’s London Fletcher (142), Tampa Bay’s Barrett Ruud (142) and Carolina’s Jon Beason (141) — had more tackles.

He played a major role in the Falcons finishing 10th against the run last season.

While he got snubbed by Pro Bowl voters, Lofton’s hometown of Kingfisher, Oklahoma did not. They retired his jersey this offseason.

After a recent minicamp practice, Lofton told about the retirement ceremony and about how the Falcons plan to have a top 10 overall defense in 2010.

Here’s the Q&A:

Q: What was it like to have your jersey retired by your high school?

Giants quarterback Eli Manning had his best game of the season, passing for almost 400 yards against the Falcons. (Associated Press).

Giants quarterback Eli Manning had his best game of the season, passing for almost 400 yards against the Falcons. (Associated Press).

A: It was really an honor to have the town of Kingfisher retire my jersey. It was an amazing feeling with all of the hard work I put in. It just goes to show you that my town cares.

Q: What was the ceremony like?

A: It was at one of the basketball games. The gym was filled. I arrived about 45 minutes early and signed a couple of autographs. All of my family was there. They had my high school, my college and Falcons’ jerseys all together. It was awesome. It’s tough to put into words how I felt that night.

Q: What’s been your mindset on improving this offseason?

A: I watched a lot of film of myself this offseason. There were a couple of things that stuck out to me. I’ve just been working this offseason to get better in those areas of my game.

Q: What was working for you all last season with stopping the run?

A: I would say that the No. 1 thing was attitude. Nobody was going to come in and run the ball against us no matter where we were at. If we didn’t do anything, we were going to stop the run. Now, we have to carry that into not letting them catch the ball on third down. We have to get off the field and make some plays. I think we’re going to be a top 10 defense.

Q: What are the keys to make sure you all get there?

A: I would say, of course, No. 1 is stopping the run. No. 2 is affecting the quarterback. No. 3 is getting takeaways and BDs, ball disruptions.

Q: You started off getting a lot of takeaways, how do you get more consistent in that area?

A: Just working on it in practice. If you don’t do it in practice, you’re not going to do it in the game. We just have to keep doing it, staying focused and put more emphasis on it.

Q: How has first round pick Sean Weatherspoon been looking for you all?

A: Spoon has been looking good. He’s a smart guy. As a rookie coming in I really feel like he’s starting to get a grasp on things. He has a lot of energy to him and that’s what you like to see. That’s great for a rookie. He’s going to be a good player.

31 comments Add your comment

Jim

May 17th, 2010
7:41 am

Just remember Curtis`actions speak louder than words`

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Bird Droppings

May 17th, 2010
8:13 am

The man is a beast, his football intelligence is off the screen, and he will continue to grow in his leadership role and compel his teammates to do the same.

Another prototypical TD draft pick, someone we can base our future on.

The Real Falcon

May 17th, 2010
8:19 am

We are building a solid and hungry defense!

Sid

May 17th, 2010
8:31 am

We have every reason to feel good about the defense for the 2010 campaign. 28th against the pass leaves plenty of room for improvement but the Falcons brass has done an excellent job addressing those deficiencies. If you want a barometer the Redskins finished 10th in defense last season. If we can stay relative healthy no reason this team can’t advance deep into the playoffs or even the Superbowl.

papafoxx

May 17th, 2010
8:51 am

I just hope the rest of the D has this same attitude

falcon4life

May 17th, 2010
8:57 am

I like it. Last year was very frustrating watching all the 3rd down completions they gave up. If they can stop half of those they are probably a 12 win team. GO FALCONS!

SHO-NUFF

May 17th, 2010
9:13 am

will be at least 12 wins

SHO-NUFF

May 17th, 2010
9:14 am

Two against New Orleans

Chop Buster

May 17th, 2010
9:15 am

Our LBs were exposed on third downs last year…getting matched up against RBs and TEs. Nicholas and Lofton can’t cover these guys. It’s imperative we get Spoon in the games on 3rd downs this year if we are to improve.

SHO-NUFF

May 17th, 2010
9:18 am

More pressure on QB on 3rd dwns

SHO-NUFF

May 17th, 2010
9:20 am

1st and 2nd dwns also

Morrus

May 17th, 2010
9:50 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

Mike is Back

May 17th, 2010
9:54 am

Dled, Great stuff on Lofton. TD and MS has done a terrific JOB of assembling talent…we should be able challenge anybody now.

I agree with the other bloggers comment on Lofton… he is a beast…he also has a high football IQ.

He was talking about stopping the run…that reminded of the game they went the NY to play the Jets late in the season…they shut their vaulted offense down. The Falcon defense showed a lot of heart in that game. Can’t wait to see Spoon get a chance to line up alone side Lofton…it’s gone be GREAT!!

GO BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mike

May 17th, 2010
9:57 am

Calvin G. Sims, Sr.

May 17th, 2010
10:08 am

Just three (3) more months.

Go Falcons!!!

Calvin G. Sims, Sr.

May 17th, 2010
10:18 am

What a difference a year makes. Let us reflect. Last year this time we were all bemoaning the defense (except for the die-hard fans, like me). We were enraptured by the season that Matt Ryan and Mike Turner had.

Now just 1 year later, it is all about the defense. Could it be possible that the Falcons have leadership (TD, MS) that know what they are doing. Could this be the beginning of a “Dynasty.”

Prediction: Watch Rafael Bush and remember Ronnie Lott. Oooooh, It’s gonna be goooood.

Go Falcons!!!

The piano genius

May 17th, 2010
10:30 am

3RD DOWN RB. NOT NORWOOD.

May 17th, 2010
10:39 am

Is Curtis going to try playing a little center this year too? Is it just me or does he look a litte round in that picture? I love his play and he is a great middle LB. I am not sure he is doing all of that crazy training stuff they have him doing on those “rise up” radio comercials.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

May 17th, 2010
10:52 am

Always liked Lofton and his play. Hes going to be a great falcon for many years!! He is only going to get better, remember hes still young and played well as a rookie. Lets hope he can train Spoon the way Petersen trained Lofton.

truth

May 17th, 2010
11:12 am

Mike I don’t know? I thimk his legs are kind’a big.

ymmotretsof

May 17th, 2010
11:24 am

I just want to say how nice it is to read all these people that love the Falcons as much as I do!!!

waw

May 17th, 2010
11:27 am

Spoon is “smart” – the theme this year.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 17th, 2010
12:08 pm

Morrus — How do you keep getting lost over here in the football blog. They are doing the incumbent stuff over at the Political Insider. (Today they are confused about the Miss America from Michigan being Arab American and Muslim.
http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2010/05/17/a-muslim-as-miss-usa-and-an-arizona-flap-donald-trump-couldnt-have-asked-for-mor/?cxntfid=blogs_political_insider_jim_galloway

Mike is Back — Thanks!

Rookie minicamp starts in about 2 hours. I’m at the Branch and will have updates.

Paddy O

May 17th, 2010
12:15 pm

I disagree with Mr. Loftin – the key to defense is harassing the QB, then stuffing the run. If you are consistently harassing the QB, then you have guys in the backfield, and many times, if you are creating chaos for the QB, the O line also lets you stuff the RB in the backfield. That, and tipping passes in the flat – get them big arms up! Should be a good year. Ryan needs to throw for 4000 yards, 35 TD and less than 10 ints. Go Falcons!

Section 108

May 17th, 2010
12:28 pm

man, that girl in the red dress is a hottie!!!

PlanB

May 17th, 2010
12:40 pm

What I like most about this team is the depth we are building. This has got to mean sooo much to a team where you can keep some starters rested and loose very little in efficiency, and remember just because we have some lineman going to FA next year doesn’t mean we can’t sign them if we want to keep them.
We have a good backup QB, now we know we have a good backup RB in Snelling. We will have more depth on OL. WR has Douglas back and a couple of good ones in the draft. Keep TG healthy. On defense, through the draft and getting injured players back, we have depth at DT, Bier and Sid have more experience. Spoon will be a great addition with the LB’s. Robinson at CB and Williams off IR with Owens and Grimes making great strides last year. Three good safties competing for the 2 starting jobs. Sounds pretty good. Just hope we don’t have near the injuries we had last year.
I’ll bet we beat NO twice this year.
I’ll be watching on the Directv football package from Durham, NC and hope to get to a game or two.
Wish I could see the pre-season games like I used to while living in Gainesville.
GO FALCONS!!!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 17th, 2010
12:52 pm

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 17th, 2010
12:53 pm

Section 108 — Calm down! Stay focused.

chris taylor

May 18th, 2010
12:37 am

Lol bout not catching the games. I used to drive up from Macon when I lived there & rent a motel room to catch the games on local tv when there were blackouts in the bad seasons. 4-12 or 12-4 i’m there birds….all the way. Need more explosive plays Lofton….you are definately good….now it’s time to be great. Get a pick or two, how bout some sacks or forced fumbles. Tell ya what Curtis, i’ll settle for a Drew Brees/Reggie Bush Concussion…..either will do…..we’ll still love ya if not but give it a shot…..for us.

Ben E.

May 19th, 2010
12:36 pm

Maybe this year you can keep the Panthers from ringing up over 300 yards on the ground against you! :)

Good luck Falcons, except when you play Carolina!