Posts Tagged ‘Scott Fujita’

Dante Rosario's catch silences the Charger faithfull in week 1 (photo by AP)

Dante Rosario silences the Charger fans in week 1 (Photo by AP)

With just one game gone in the season it’s hard to tell who are the contenders and who are the dead-enders.

It was a really wild start to the season for both the London bound teams and the ideal way to begin my series of weekly updates on the London bound New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers.

At Qualcomm stadium you could have heard a pin drop when Jake Delhomme took a rather high snap, avoided the pass rush pump faked and then hit Dante Rosarioin the endzone as the Carolina Panthers stole a 26-24 win against the Chargers in California.

Elsewhere in Louisiana Saints linebacker Scott Fujita grabbed a bullet pass from Jeff Garcia in the final minute of the game to seal a tough 24-20 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Notes about the Chargers

♣ Shawne ‘Lights Out’ Merriman had just two tackles and failed to get to Jake Delhomme

♣ 3rd round rookie Jacob Hester did not touch the ball – Ill keep everyone updated. The other lesser known rookie fullback Mike Tolbert did have an impressive start with 3 runs for 6 yards and 3 catches for 35 yards and two first downs

My Week 1 grade – Offense B, Defense C, Special Teams C

Notes about the Saints

♥ Deuce McAllister did not play, and without his bruising style the Saints running back combo of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas failed to make a big impression on the ground. Reggie Bush did have a fantastic game with 8 catches for 112 yards and a score. Lets face it Bush can catch dink and dunk passes all day long and just kill teams – he could catch 150 passes legitimately in a single season.

My Week 1 grade – Offense A-, Defense C, Special Teams C

In summary both teams showed that they can compete, but they will win games with their offense more than their defense. With 7 weeks until Wembley I cannot wait.

What was YOUR first impression of the Chargers and the Saints in Week 1? ……………….

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389 tackles in three NFL seasons is quite a respectable output for a linebacker, averaging almost 130 tackles a season. Problem is it wasn’t enough for the New York Jets to keep Jonathan Vilmaon their roster, and in February this year he was traded to the Wembley bound New Orleans Saints.

The Saints starting linebackers from 2007 were hardly the same class as the great Saints ‘backers of the late 1980s (the Dome Patrol of Pat Swilling, Sam Mills, Ricky Jackson and Vaughan Johnson) with Mark Simoneau, Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle all performing to their best ability, but lets be frank, not at a Pro Bowl standard.

Vilma on the other hand is already a Pro-Bowl veteran, having made the game as an alternate in 2006, following on from his outstanding 2005 season, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The big debate as far as Vilma goes is that he was playing in the wrong defensive scheme as a New York Jet, in a 3-4 defense, but has found a true calling with the Saints as the star inside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.

Vilma’s 2007 season was a write-off after just 7 games, with  a bone defect. This means the Saints were taking somewhat of a gamble by picking up his tab.

I will be really looking forward to seeing Jonathan Vilma roam the hallowed Wembley turf for the NFL International game against the San Diego Chargers on October 26.

Vilma is no Ray Lewis, and he is certainly not the same type of defender as the Chargers 2006 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne ‘Lights Out’ Merriman, as he is disciplined as a tackler, and does not spend his time trying to crush quarterbacks.

He has the opportunity with the Saints to become an instant fan favourite, and get around 110 to 120 tackles and maybe even three or four turnovers.

Lets hope Vilma’s road to recovery from his disappointing 2007 campaign runs through London, and over 80,000 fans get to see Vilma wrapping up the likes of LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates in the Red Zone of a most likely soggy Wembley Stadium.

I think Vilma will make a solid comeback and help propel the Saints to a wild-card and a record of 10-6.

How far the Saints can go if they make the playoff party is anyones guess after the Giants shocked the NFL world to lift the Lombardi Trophy in 2008 (via Wembley of course !!!) .

Will Vilma be a stud or a bust – give me your views…………