Saints Place Vilma on IR, Falcons Sign Veteran Youngblood
With NFL teams making final roster decisions before the regular season begins on Thursday evening, the New Orleans Saints have placed veteran linebacker Jonathan Vilma on injured reserve. The team did designate him to return, which means he can’t practice for six weeks but he could return to the field in Week 8 for a game.
Vilma had surgery last month on his knee and missed all of the preseason. Details surrounding the injury has been scarce. The player has previously battled knee problems, undergoing numerous surgeries throughout the course of his nine-year NFL career. In 2012, he struggled with playing time.
In Vilma’s absence, fellow linebacker David Hawthorne will get the starting nod with Curtis Lofton.
For the Saints, Vilman has not been their only linebacker loss. Things are pretty thin at this role. They have already lost for the season, linebacker Will Smith and defensive end Kenyon Coleman. Then there’s Victor Butler, who tore his ACL and sits on the PUP list.
Expectations have risen for this team with the return of head coach Sean Payton who missed last season from a league suspension. In the offseason, they hired former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. He inherited a team that set a league record last season for the most yards allowed by a defense–7,042 yards–as well as other bottom of the league statistics accrued by them.
Good luck Rob.
In other Saints news, with the move by the team to place Vilma on IR, they added wide receiver Robert Meachem.
On Tuesday, the player signed a one-year deal with his former team; he is expected to hit the ground running by playing in Week 1’s game against division foe, the Atlanta Falcons. Meachem is in shape as he was just with the San Diego Chargers until Saturday. He got cut by the team after joining them in 2012 with a four-year, $14 million contract.
For Meachem, he’ll return to the team who drafted him back in 2007. He already has chemistry with his quarterback Drew Brees and from his four years with the team, he amassed 141 receptions for 2,269 yards and 23 touchdowns.
The player said of his return home via NOLA.com after not faring well in the preseason, “But you take a negative and you turn it into a positive. That’s my mission now. To go out there and show the gifts that I was blessed with. Put my head down and just relax and go play football.”
Will the Saints get back on track with its depleted defense? They sit at 18/1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl and 10/1 to win the 2014 NFC Conference.
Falcons Add Veteran Tackle Youngblood
Looking to enhance its offensive line, the Falcons signed veteran right tackle Jeremy Youngblood. He had been with the Washington Redskins, but was a victim of the team’s recent 75-player roster cut.
The eight-year veteran was previously a starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being drafted by them in 2006. He has started in 84 of 101 NFL games, but lost his job in 2012.
Upon signing with the team, Youngblood will join fellow right tackle Lamar Holmes. The sophomore player took over for the injured right tackle Mike Johnson who is out for the season from an injury. Holmes is expected to start against the Saints but Youngblood may be competition for the starting role once he’s up and running.
Falcons coach Mike Smith wouldn’t respond to whether this was a possibility, reported AJC.com.
To make room for the tackle, the Falcons cut guard Terren Jones and achieved an injury settlement with Phillipkeith Manley.
The Falcons enter the 2013 season at 12/1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl and 7/1 to win the 2014 NFC Conference.