VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Vilma says he's in his best shape in years

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Although the bounty scandal is now behind Jonathan Vilma, so are nine punishing NFL seasons.

Advertisement
The Saints linebacker and longtime defensive captain appreciates that many will wonder if he's lost a step after 870 tackles since turning pro in 2004, not to mention several knee procedures in the past two years. Vilma responds confidently to the skepticism, saying his rehabilitation is complete, and that he is in his best physical shape in years.

``Physically, I'm very good, a lot better than last year,'' Vilma asserted. ``I'd be stupid to say I feel as great as when I was a rookie. Of course not. I do feel able to run and do all the things that I was able to do back in 2010. ... I just needed a little time (to rehabilitate) that I didn't get last year because of everything that was going on.''

Indeed, a year has made a big difference in many aspects of Vilma's life. Last summer, while fighting his bounty suspension in federal court, he testified that damage to his reputation hurt his ability to raise money for business and charity endeavors.

Now, not only does he believe his football career is back on track, he is also expanding his business interests. Already an investor in multiple restaurants and bars, Vilma spoke said he prepared for Thursday's launch of his new venture involving a smartphone application catering to bars and club patrons. The launch coincided with reporting day for Saints training camp.

``I've been fortunate to play football and make a living out of it, but business has always interested me,'' said Vilma, who majored in finance at Miami, and whose new venture is called BarEye.

This season, meanwhile, should provide a clearer picture of how long Vilma can expect to remain in the business of playing football.

Vilma, 31, missed five games in 2011 with a left knee injury, then had several surgeries and traveled to Germany to see a specialist in platelet rich plasma therapy, a relatively new blood-spinning technique also used by Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez.

Even as he went to such lengths, Vilma said his rehabilitation was hindered by the league's bounty investigation, which named him as the ringleader of a program that paid improper cash bonuses for hard and even injurious hits. Vilma initially received a full-season suspension, which banned him from Saints facilities during much of the offseason and training camp.

Vilma maintained he would never intentionally injure fellow players, and that the bonuses were similar to incentives NFL players league-wide had offered teammates for years.

During a lengthy appeal, he was reinstated in Week 1 of the regular season, but placed on the physically unable to perform list before finally playing on Oct. 21.

With Curtis Lofton in his old middle linebacker spot, Vilma played outside linebacker in 11 games, recording a career-low 37 tackles.

Now he must adapt to new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme, which features a switch from a 4-3 alignment (four linemen, three linebackers) to a 3-4. When Vilma last played in a 3-4 for the New York Jets in 2007, it did not suit him. He was traded to New Orleans in 2008, where he thrived in a three-linebacker formation.

Vilma said this time will be different because Ryan's scheme is flexible enough to capitalize on players' strengths.

``What I like about Rob is he's saying, `I don't want to limit you by putting you in a stagnant 3-4,''' said Vilma, who is expected to play weak side middle linebacker, with Lofton on the strong side. ``It's about: Let's get after it, be aggressive. Let's be fast.''

Vilma noted that in former coordinator Gregg Williams' defense from 2009-11, the Saints often pulled out of their basic 4-3 and blitzed out of a 3-4.

Ryan studied film of those seasons and brought back some of those schemes.

``He told us, `I'm not going to mess with you guys. I know what you guys do well and what you don't do well, so I'm going to put you in a situation that makes you look good,''' Vilma said. ``Hopefully it turns out that way.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: Pick Six - Week 11
David: Total Talk - Week 11
Roberts: Vegas Money Moves - Week 11
Akins: Gridiron Angles - Week 11
Roberts: SNF - Eagles at Cowboys
Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 11
BetOnline.ag: Sunday's Top 5 Wagers
BetDSI: Best Bets - Week 11 Sides
Heritage Sports: Best Bets - Week 11 Totals
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
8-0 Run, 15-2 G-Plays, 11-4 Totals
5-0 G-Plays, 11-3 L6 Sun, 16-6 Run
7-2 Week 10, 7-3 G-Plays, +1,183
15-7 GPlays, 26-13 L6 Sun., +2,517
5-2 Week 10, 3-1 L4 Guarantees
5-2 Sun, 23-13 L5 Sundays, +1,562
6-1 Totals, 4-2 Sunday, 13-6 Run
9-2 L11 G-Plays, 4-1 L5 Picks
5-2 L7, 15-7 Guaranteed Plays TY
6-3 L9 G-Plays, 32-17 L8 Sundays
6-1 Record L7 Selections
8-3 L4 Sundays, 11-6 L17 Picks
6-2 L8 Picks, 62% +799 Overall
10-5 L3 Sundays, 5-2 L7 G-Plays
8-4 L12 Guaranteed Plays
NFL Pro Football Expert Picks - Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
2017 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 2517
Vince Akins + 1562
Chip Chirimbes + 1183
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 605
Chip Chirimbes + 470
Jim Mack + 385
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Zack Cimini 67 %
Gary Bart 62 %
John Fisher 62 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 824
Paul Bovi + 730
Gary Bart + 713
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 720
Stephen Nover + 625
Vince Akins + 610
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 760
Gary Bart + 685
The Gold Sheet + 527
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership