METAIRIE, La. -- When the Saints allowed reporters in Thursday for their first media availability of the offseason, much of the discussion focused on the lawsuit middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week. The defamation suit filed by Vilma stemmed from what Goodell said was Vilma's role as one of the ringleaders in the bounty program the league said was run from 2009 to 2011 by members of the Saints' defense. "That's his constitutional right," Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said of Vilma, who has been suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the pay-for-performance system. All-Pro guard Jahri Evans also said he was happy to see Vilma, who has taken part in install and film sessions this spring, take action to fight the suspension and offset the damage done to his reputation. "Most definitely," Evans said. "As a player he has to fight back." --When Vitt spoke with reporters about the first three OTAs, he noted that second-year linebacker Martez Wilson, a third-round draft pick, had been moved to defensive end. Part of the reason, Vitt said, is that the Saints will play more zone schemes this season under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo than they did under Gregg Williams with the goal being to cut down on the number of big plays they gave up. "We've got a lot of zone pressures now and it's going to call for a defensive end to drop into coverage," Vitt said. "And Martez has got a pretty good foundation from being here a year ago with coverage and coverage aspects. "We've been very encouraged for the first week of what he's done. He'll be our right end. He does a pretty good job with pattern recognition. This is a time to experiment, and we'll see what he can do." --Reacting to star quarterback Drew Brees' comments last week that it was "extremely frustrating" there hadn't been much discussion on a long-term contract, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said he respects Brees' feelings. Loomis said he didn't take any of Brees' comments to flagship radio station WWL about the slow pace of negotiations personally. "I feel for him ... I feel with him," Loomis said of Brees, who was designated as the team's franchise player. "He wants to be here right now. I want him to be here right now, and we want to get that accomplished."
- Jonathan Vilma
- Joe Vitt