Grizzlies at Pelicans
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday.
WHERE: New Orleans Arena.
RADIO: WWL-FM, 105.3; WEMX-FM, 94.1.
En Espanol: WODT-AM, 1280.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers entered the locker room following practice and the mood was light and lively, with several players breaking into scattered wrestling matches around the room.
Quarterback Cam Newton was all smiles, too.
“There was a great vibe at practice today,” Newton said Wednesday.
The third-year quarterback said the Panthers approached the day eager to put Sunday night’s 31-13 loss to the Saints behind them, but not forget the lessons that come with that disappointing and potential costly defeat.
After finishing the 2012 season with just 30 sacks, the New Orleans Saints have turned up the heat and are tied for second in the NFL through 13 games with 43 sacks — one fewer than the Buffalo Bills.
While it’s been a well-rounded effort for the NFL’s sixth-ranked defense, defensive end Cameron Jordan and outside linebacker Junior Galette have combined for nearly half of the club’s total with 20 1/2.
That makes them the No. 2 sack tandem in the league behind Kansas City Chiefs linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, who have 11 sacks each for a total of 22.
Curtis Lofton has rarely left the field this season for the Saints defense.
Why would he?
After all, the middle linebacker is doing what he always knew he could do here and had done elsewhere in the NFL. He’s accomplishing it all as part of a resurgent Saints defense, solidifying his reasoning for departing the Atlanta Falcons two offseasons ago for their NFC South rival.
Lofton’s journey to become the man in the middle of the NFL’s sixth-ranked defense has included plenty of trials, tribulations and tackles.