When New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma returned to the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday, how well he would do was a question of concern that was answered quickly.
Although Curtis Lofton would still play the middle linebacker position, Vilma was used in multiple packages and interchanged every which way but loose as promised by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
Vilma’s performance wasn’t spectacular and had zero tackles during the game but almost came up with an interception from a tipped ball he batted in the air. Still something else stood out.
The veteran linebacker shook most doubters by moving around on the field like the old Vilma that we have seen before. While the stats don’t show it, he did fairly well for his first game after missing the first five games of the season and only practicing the week prior to this game.
Also a lucky break for the Saints regarding Vilma was he was there to fill in for Scott Shanle and Jonathan Casillas who both were out for a time with injuries during the game.
Given some time, Vilma is not only physical but smart when it comes to football and learning Spagnuolo’s defense. If his health, and stay of his season long suspension stands, Vilma could help the Saints with their linebacking corps down the stretch that has faced several injuries.