A week after the 2012 regular season ended, LB Curtis Lofton went on a weeklong cruise with teammates, Jed Collins, Brian de la Puente, David Hawthorne and Chris Ivory.
Lofton said the trip allowed the group to decompress and get away from everything after a disappointing season.
Relaxation is over for Lofton. Now, the sixth-year linebacker is ready for his first year with Head Coach Sean Payton and Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan.
"I have spoken with (Rob Ryan) a few times and I love having him," said Lofton. "As a player, you want a coach that's confident, knows what he is talking about and put's everything in black and white. He is a very personable. He is a player's coach. If you have a suggestion, he will listen to it. I like that about him.
"One of the main reasons I came here is Sean Payton. I feel like he is a great coach I am happy to start working with him."
In 2012, Lofton led the Saints in tackles with 157 stops (94 solo), adding a sack, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and ten passes defensed. Lofton's 157 tackles was the highest total by a Saints defender since 1997 and the second-highest since 1986. Despite the lofty numbers, the Saints linebacker is disappointed with the end result.
"Individually, I thought I had a really good year – one of my best years in the NFL," said Lofton. "As a defense, we didn't accomplish our goals so the individual stats don't matter. It's a cohesive unit and we didn't hit our marks or goals. It's kind of disappointing, but that's all in the past. Our future is bright. We have our coach Sean Payton back and we brought in Rob Ryan and a few other pieces – I am excited about the future."
Lofton said this offseason he is looking to work on becoming more explosive, focusing on his speed in training. While mostly studying his film, Lofton said other linebackers he likes to study are Patrick Willis, London Fletcher and Lofa Tatupu.
"I go back and study my film and look at every play I can improve on," said Lofton. "There are a few things that I am focused on right now. I feel like I want to play with more power and explosiveness. I have been really focusing on those areas. Mainly I like to watch my own film, but in order to be a better player, you have to know what your weaknesses are and you want to pick small things from other players' game."