Vilma to Play Against Bucs?


jonathan_vilma

Photo by: Daniel Gluskoter/Icon SMI

If you ask him, he will.  Now appealing his season long suspension that had previously been upheld after a few weeks of delay is now eligible to come off the PUP list this week.  Confused?  Yeah, it isn’t the clearest of situations.  Still, what we do know is that Vilma will be eligible to come off the PUP list and play if healthy enough this Sunday unless the appeal process ends more abruptly than most think.  In fact, the process will likely take much longer than before Sunday’s game.  Vilma’s lawyers submitted a 29 page report on why Vilma should be cleared and have requested that Goodell is not involved with the decision.  The rest of the players are appealing using the NFLPA, but Vilma’s case will likely lead the way.

As at stands now, though, Vilma may actually suit up against Tampa Bay.  The question now becomes, do the Saints want him to?  In Aaron Kromer’s final game as the Saints head coach before Joe Vitt takes over, he has somewhat of a large decision looming over him.  Vilma has been hampered by a knee injury for nearly two years now.  His effectiveness on the field may be greatly diminished to the point that he is no longer a starting caliber linebacker.  Of course, nobody on the Saints have shown that they are starting caliber.  His presence on the field could at least give a boost to the struggling crew.

The Bucs have struggled somewhat on offense before breaking out in a big way last week.  The Saints offense can hang with the best of him, so if the Saints defense can only slightly slow down Tampa, the Saints may put up too many points to lose this one.  Both the Bucs pass and rush offense rank in the lower half of the league, so even if Vilma can’t play they aren’t exactly guaranteed a lot of points.

The Bucs pass defense is the second worst in the league at this point in the season.  Drew Brees has a dream match up and figures to have a huge game.  They have been great at stopping the run, but luckily for New Orleans, they barely run the ball.

Vilma or no Vilma, New Olreans figures to be favorites when they head into Raymond James Stadium.

 

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