New Orleans fans, you’ll hear plenty more from Jonathan Vilma when we run our Camp Confidential segment on the Saints on Friday.
Matter of fact, I just finished writing that after spending a good chunk of the morning and early afternoon transcribing tape of interviews with Vilma and some others. There were several quotes I didn’t get to use, including some that will appear in some upcoming theme stories about the NFC South.
But there was one particular Saints-related item from Vilma that I thought I’d share that with you now. I asked him about two of the newest additions to the defense -- tackles Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin.
“One of the first things I noticed when we got into camp was how much bigger we are on the defensive line,’’ Vilma said. “As a linebacker, you want that. That’s every linebacker’s dream to have guys like that in front of you.’’
Rogers, a veteran free agent who previously played in Detroit and Cleveland, is listed at 6-foot-4 and 350 pounds. Rogers also comes with a reputation for not always keeping himself in great physical condition. I didn’t get to see Rogers on a scale, but I did get to see him on the practice field and I was pleasantly surprised.
I know what 350 pounds -- or more -- looks like. Back when Kris Jenkins and Maake Kemoeatu were with the Carolina Panthers, they sometimes let themselves get well over 350 pounds. Rogers didn’t even look close to what Jenkins and Kemoeatu looked like in those days. Yes, he’s big, but he also appears to be in pretty good shape.
Franklin, who came as a free agent from San Francisco, isn’t quite as big. He’s listed at 6-1 and 317. The plan is to pair those two veterans in a rotation with Sedrick Ellis.
“I’ve been real impressed with both of them so far,’’ Vilma said. “Shaun looks great and looks like he’s really excited to be here. I’m excited to have both of them here. When you’re a linebacker and you have guys like that in front of you, it can really free you up to run all over the field and make more plays.’’