Saints are high on their inside linebackers in new 3-4 scheme, Curtis Lofton and Jonathan Vilma picking things up quickly

When the New Orleans Saints brought in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan it was already established that they needed ‘attitude.’

Ryan is there to fix a historically bad defense and in a 3-4 defense, the inside linebackers play big roles.

Coach Sean Payton likes what he sees from Curtis Lofton and Jonathan Vilma together as a team.

The two have made a seamless transition to Ryan’s 3-4 defense and Payton says they have picked up the scheme quick.

Last year Vilma moved to the weakside from the middle linebacker position and Lofton took over, however, they will be playing even closer in 2013.

"Well they are both veterans and smart players, and I think their experience being at another defense, from a learning curve standpoint, they pick things up pretty quickly," Payton said, via Nakia Hogan of

 "Obviously one of them is playing the Mike over a guard bubble and the other is playing weakside, talking about Jon Vilma now, there are some nuances to the inside linebacker positions, but both of them have handled it well (as well as) the transition of this defense and I think their experience has really helped."

"We work really well together," Lofton said. "With him coming in last year and moving to Will and me staying at Mike, and having two great leaders on the field that only helps the defense."