Ken Norton talks up defensive newcomers Nate Allen, Curtis Lofton

New Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton believes free-agent additions safety Nate Allen and middle linebacker Curtis Lofton are going to make a big difference for defense this season.

Thursday, Norton talked glowingly about both players. Here’s a look at the Norton praise:

On Allen: "You saw the last time the ones (first-team defense) played against Arizona. You saw a big difference in the way Nate Allen really showed up. I think anytime you play a defense, anytime you’re new to new surroundings, and new environment, it’s going to take a while to really adjust to the system, to the environment, to what everyone is asking. I think the reason why we brought Nate here is to make plays. To keep us solid in the post, and he’s been doing just that ... He’s a smart, fast playmaker. He’s back there controlling the secondary. He knows a lot that’s going on and keeps everybody lined up. At the end of the day, he keeps the explosive down to a minimum."

On Lofton: "Curtis has been heaven-sent. He’s a guy that is very smart, really tough and around here toughness is a talent. He has the whole front seven, front eight lined up. He has a real strong voice. They all listen to him. He knows exactly where everybody is supposed to be. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s that strong voice, that center of attention. He’s that guy that you want to play middle linebacker. Curtis is everything a middle linebacker is supposed to be."