The New Orleans Saints will start a two game road stretch when they travel first to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the Denver Broncos. To help with the jet lag, the team could get a nice jolt with the return of linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Vilma who has been on the Physically Unable to Perform(PUP) list for the past six weeks, finally was able to practice on Wednesday and then again yesterday. If all reports are correct, then he could possibly see some action this Sunday.
Interim head coach Aaron Kromer said that Vilma looked good during the two practices and made some plays that apparently showed that he has been studying Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive scheme.
If Vilma is able to come back this quickly, then he could be the shot in the arm that the defense has been needing. The happy problem is what to do with the veteran linebacker.
Curtis Lofton has been manning Vilma’s middle linebacker spot since the start of the season and trying to fill his role. Of course while Lofton is more subtle, Vilma tends to be more vocal. The main thing is that both are a big presence.
The question would be what would happen to Lofton if and when Vilma returned? Spagnuolo hinted that we would probably see different linebacker combinations with different packages. Hopefully this could help the Saints with their ho-hum pass rush that found a spark recently.
Of course, Vilma’s return will strictly be up to the coaching staff and trainers to see if his knee holds up to the stress of practice. If Vilma is activated, then opposing offenses could be in for some trouble since he will likely also be out to prove any doubters wrong about whether he’d play or not this season.