New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma joined the Tampa Bay media this week on a conference call and talked about Sunday’s key divisional matchup with the Buccaneers.
Can you talk about the last few games you guys have played against the Bucs and this divisional battle?
“It is a typical divisional game. That is really how a divisional game should be. You know few blowouts and more close games. It is always a very good battle [and] and physical battle. Honestly that’s the way we like it. We expect it from Tampa Bay. I know they expect it from us. So we go out there and play.”
Do you feel like you have a veteran enough team to just move on to the next one after the game you had over the weekend?
“Yes. That is really about all you can do. You can’t sit there and mull over it for weeks and let it linger on to now the next and the game after that. We have to be mentally tough as well as physically tough to understand that things aren’t [always] going to go your way. You are going to lose some [and] you got to move on and don’t let it affect the rest of your season.”
Will Smith a few weeks ago and said in a good way that Donald Penn is a talkative lineman during the game. Have you been around that and heard much of him?
“I have heard a little bit of it quote unquote chatter during the game. You know I like it. I like the competition in it. I know Will enjoys it as well. Will sometimes gets the best of Penn sometimes someone gets the best of Will. That is a good matchup. That has been going on for years and I know they are very familiar with each other.”
Is it kind of a playful chatter between them?
“I can’t say that. Not during the game.”
Well what is it like?
“Well, I am not going to tell you.”
Does it get a little heated?
“I am still not going to tell you.”
Do you think defenses have done anything specific to Josh Freeman (regarding his interceptions) that has kind of been a common thread?
“I think some of those came with him trying to make a play. If you look at or compare some of those poor game interceptions to those of Drew (Brees) where…you can’t say a team or defense is really starting to figure him out. There are times where he thinks he can fit a throw in or he thinks he can get it there. That’s what I am looking at right now. I am watching the film on him. It looks like sometimes he tries to get that ball in there and he chokes his arm. If the defender makes a play its one of those hell of a plays [and] if not, it’s a great throw.”
How strange is it not to have your coach on the sidelines during the game and what kind of adjustment do players have to make?
“Defensively on game day we never really dealt with Sean (Payton) on game day. It was more him being with the offense and us dealing with Gregg Williams. So it is not much of a difference (maybe offensively it may be a difference) but for us defensively we are fine. We still work with Gregg on the sideline and we get the call then we go from there.”
-Mark Cook contributed to this report.