Sean Payton says Vilma still has role in defense

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Linebacker Jonathan Vilma had a quick and positive reaction to the news that the Saints hired Rob Ryan as their new defensive coordinator and he’ll likely be pleased to hear what coach Sean Payton had to say about a role for Vilma in Ryan’s 3-4 scheme.

During an interview on Sirius/XM Radio on Tuesday, Payton said that he didn’t think Vilma would have a problem transitioning into Ryan’s defense. Payton talked about playing Vilma, long a middle linebacker in the 4-3, as a weakside linebacker alongside Curtis Lofton in a 3-4 with under principles to keep him from taking guards on by himself.

“Yeah, I don’t think anyone wants to place him over that guard bubble and have to take on that block. And I think he’s a guy that runs to the ball and has great vision, very instinctual football player. I think you take some of that away if all of a sudden he’s playing over an uncovered guard and now his size becomes an issue,” Payton said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “A lot of things may concern you with a player change. So, he’ll play over on that weakside position and that will be very similar to what he did this past year. Curtis Lofton, who’s a little heavier, will play on that strong inside Mike position. So I think that part of it for those two guys transition pretty well.”

Vilma will probably have to swallow more than a position change. He’s got a cap hit of about $8.6 million for the coming season and it’s thought the team will approach him to renegotiate this offseason. Payton didn’t discuss Vilma’s contract specifically, but it’s a good bet his hypothetical role in the defense will remain just that without a price tag that’s a bit easier for the team to swallow.

12 responses to “Sean Payton says Vilma still has role in defense

  1. It would really be better to cut him and put Hawthorne and Lofton in the middle that way you don’t have to worry about them getting crushed by a blocker. Then go with Gallette and Wilson on the outside. If they don’t like that combo on the outside I would get Roman Harper to bulk up in the offseason and turn him into a OLB. We all know he can’t cover and his strengths are tackling and blitzing so why not make him add size and move to a LB position so you can draft his replacement in Vaccaro, Ried or Elam.

  2. Vilma got irritated in New York with the 3-4 switch with Ryan first got there. He’ll probably get annoyed again and want to jump ship. But to his credit, he’s a 4-3 LB And plays better in that scheme.

  3. Vilma still has what it takes to fearlessly challenge a powerful offense, either on the field or from the incompetent commissioner’s office of false accusations. “You wanna fabricate me as a safety villain to distract attention away from yourself? Not gonna happen!”

  4. “Sean Payton says Vilma still has role in defense”

    One cheater endorses another. The fact that Payton is going to keep this cheating scum on the team proves he knew and encouraged the addtional payments to players. New Orleans, its coach, owner, players and fans are the butt hole of the USA.

  5. Well, I’m going to head down to the butthole of the USA to enjoy a world class party, eat some amazing food, experience some history and culture and hang out with people from all over the world. Minny fans like “purplepunisher” can head to the armpit of North America to enjoy….hang on….need to google what the hell is worth seeing in Minneapolis. Google search result for Minnesota tourism is just a list of connecting flights to places like New Orleans!

  6. No NFL fans outside of the Butt hole of the USA recognize the Saints as Champions of 2009. If the NFL was like the NCAA it would strip the Saints of the trophy.

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