Oops, we did it again! The chicks somehow managed to drug Jon Vilma reach Jon Vilma and convinced him to agree to another interview. In case you didn’t know, this is the ONLY two-bit sports blog with a dressed up chicken for a logo bringing you the late breaking news on your favorite Saint. And we don’t make this stuff up people; it comes straight from the studly Saint’s mouth!
Now what Saint did I have the pleasure of interviewing, on the eve of his FIRST game in black and gold? You guessed it…my favorite Saint, Jonathan Vilma! It was like eating warm chocolate chip cookies and guzzling a big coke zero (got to watch the waistline!) Well, maybe not… but it was a CLOSE second.
Anyway, I can assure you that Vilma is focused, amped and ready to go! It’s obvious that he wants to hit somebody, anybody…BAD! I pity the fool that tries to run up the middle past Vilma…little buddy just ain’t gonna make it!
Before Vilma and I could talk Saints, I had to get his perspective on Favre-gate. (Yeah, we know you’re sick of it. But c’mon people, it’s his old team!!)
“I’m glad for both sides, Brett gets to play and the Jets get a QB. They’ve been trying to shop Pennington for some time, and now everything’s worked out.”
You like how we did that right…brief, concise and straight to the point. (Sportscenter and Total Access take note!!) Now, on to what’s important…the Saints biz-naz!
Desert Chick: How’s training camp going….have you gotten acclimated or shall I say, readjusted to the southern heat and humidity?
Jonathan: Camp is going well….because of my knee I’m taking it slow. I’m enjoying getting to know my new teammates. As for the heat it isn’t too bad, I spend the offseason in Miami…so it’s like being back at the “U”.
This guy L-O-V-E-S the “U” and I L-O-V-E- my “HEELS”. Admittedly, I’m a “U” football fan but shh that’s our family secret. We can’t admit family biz in front of mixed company and since Jon is mixed company, I couldn’t share our secret! Stay tuned for the rumble in the ACC that went down…it almost got ugly!
Desert Chick: What has been your most trying moment at camp?
Vilma: The second day. After the first day and I realized just how hot it is, and I started thinking…hey, I’ve got to go back out there in that heat for three straight weeks!
Desert Chick: Have you noticed any major differences between Saints camp and Jets Camp?
Vilma: No, not really… both coaches run the same coaching tree, very similar in methodology (this is that point where you are like, yes I see…all the while thinking, WTF is that?) Payton is more cognizant of resting his guys; he really places an emphasis on that.
Desert Chick: So, how does it feel to have another Cane in the locker room (Jeremy Shockey)?
Jonathan: Feels good, we can reminisce about the old days, talk trash…it really does bring life to the practice field (Thinking: I would pay to be a fly on the wall of a Shockey/ Vilma trash talking session…fellas, can I join in?!)
Desert Chick: Did you expect Shockey to join you in N.O. or was it a shocker? (This pun/joke wasn’t well received…but I laughed and that’s all that matters!)
Jonathan: (Silence…. no laughter, except mine) About two months ago I would have expected it, but since it didn’t happen within these last couple of weeks I really stopped anticipating it. I’m happy it worked out, I wasn’t shocked, just excited.
Desert Chick: You know I’ve got to ask, have you participated in any rookie hazing activities?
Jonathan: No, don’t really do much of that….they just take in some equipment
Desert Chick: So, I asked you about your most trying moment, but what has been your best moment at training camp?
Jonathan: Best day, every day. Just having the opportunity to get back on the field and run around and hit people, getting physical again…it’s good to be back on the field and in pads
Desert Chick: Will you be watching HBO’s Hard Knocks: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp….is your popcorn ready?
Jonathan: No really, I’ve got enough to worry about. (Well excuse me, lol….I certainly will be tuned in, this should be INTERESTING, I’ve got my popcorn READY!)
Lights, Camera, Action….It’s Film Time
Desert Chick: Do you watch much film in prep for the preseason?
Jonathan: No, I start watching film by week two of the preseason – right now I’m getting my mind ready.
Desert Chick: Speaking of preseason, do you think it’s too long or too short…because many people think it’s too long?
Jonathan: I would like to see a game taken out and put towards the regular season. You always get injuries in that last preseason game. I think it would be better for the players and coaches; we want to get into regular season sooner! (I second that motion, don’t get me started!)
Desert Chick: In NY, you partnered with Kerry Rhodes during film sessions, who do you think is going to take that spot in New Orleans?
Jonathan: I like to partner with a safety, it helps me understand how they think and it helps with developing my game. So, probably Roman Harper, we’ve talked about it already. (Now you see why I call Vilma the true Man-genius…Mangini’s got nothing on this dude!)
Desert Chick: In the past, some have said that you would have made a decent Safety because you have the speed (dude ran a 4.5 40.) With that being said, how did you wind up as a linebacker?
Jonathan: I just always wanted to be a linebacker…in high school you get to pick your position and you pretty much go from there. So, in school I said linebacker and its fit me since. Being a linebacker allows me to be in the mix of everything; you’re getting to hit people, getting to get in on the tackle.
Desert Chick: Speaking of safeties, your former teammate and now AZ Cardinal, Antrel Rolle will be making the transition from CB to Safety; a move that many speculated should have been made sooner…what is your take on this transition?
Jonathan: It will be a good move, Antrel has always had the feet and size, he’s in between 205 or 210 pounds and and can get up to 215. He has the demeanor to go out there and hit people; it will be a good move.
The “U” v. UNC
Desert Chick: Cane pride runs deep and I know players from the U run pretty close. Which former Canes are you tightest with?
Jonathan: DJ Williams (Denver Broncos), we’ve been best friends since freshman year…but I stay in contact with a lot of other guys.
Desert Chick: Do you remember Oct. 30, 2004? (Carolina blew past the Canes, down to the wire thriller….and my Coronation, but who cares right!)
Jonathan: Edited….due to the unimaginable amount of total Tar Heel hateration that went down. It’s all good though, I had to throw in the towel and chalk this rumble in the ACC up as a loss. As the interviewer I had to remain professional, but you let me meet Vilma in the streets, got to rep. my heels!!
Desert Chick: (Resuming after both sides took a minute to regain composure.) What former Miami LB do you do your try to emulate?
Jonathan: Growing up I watched Ray Lewis, Darrin Smith, Jessie Armstead, Dan Morgan and Nate Webster. I tried to model my game after all those guys.
Desert Chick: Do you keep in contact with any of these U legends?
Jonathan: I try to stay in the mix with everybody. I’m closest to Nate Webster; he was the middle linebacker before I got there and of course Dan Morgan because he was a senior when I was a freshman. I still try to talk to all of them; I actually just talked to Dan.
Desert Chick: What game day rituals do you have; what’s going on in Jonathan Vilma’s head before the game?
Jonathan: Nothing really, I just try to keep my mind clear. I don’t listen to music or anything like that….I just sit in the locker room and try to focus. Its three hours of speed thinking, got to stay relaxed.
Desert Chick: Ok, well on a random day, what’s pumping on the I-pod?
Jonathan: Hip hop and reggae mostly, a little bit of house.
Desert Chick: Now, you are fluent in German, French, and Haitian Creole….did I miss anything?
Jonathan: Nope, that’s about it
Desert Chick: Say something in German?
Jonathan: “icht kishkte stachdt klien guten berg” (yeah, sure however you spell all that) translation – “The New Orleans Saints will win today.”
Desert Chick: Where did you pick up German?
Jonathan: My family and I took German in school.
Desert Chick: What are your professional plans for after football…I presume something involving finance?
Jonathan: Depends at which stage I retire, my ultimate goal is to own an NFL team (Hmmm, we have something else in common, except I’ve only got five dollars saved…)
Desert Chick: Now, you are always rocking the same golden pendant necklace, is there any significance to this?
Jonathan: It’s an Italian charm that my father gave me for good luck and it has an inscription…but that’s personal.