A conversation with Jonathan Vilma

Q)How big of a challenge is it calling the plays on defense as a rookie?<p> Vilma: It is not a challenge. I am used to it. I have been doing it since high school. Now it is just another level.<p>

Q)How tough is it to earn the veterans respect in the huddle as a rookie?

Vilma: I think gradually I have been earning their trust. Even though it was a preseason game, I had started in a preseason game and did well there. So, they know that I can play. When I get into the game, it is not like ‘oh, it is a rookie.' It is like ‘it is Jonathan. He is going to get the calls in and we have to get going.'

Q)Do you have the flexibility to change calls once they are made?

Vilma: It is either me or the safeties making the checks. I know what the safeties are doing, they know what I am doing so we are all on the same page. If one person is making the checks and it is right, we go with it. If it is wrong, we just make the adjustments.

Q)How tough is it to handle a starting job as a rookie?

Vilma: They say we are not rookies and after a couple of games.

Q)How would you compare your freshman year at Miami to being a rookie in the NFL?

Vilma: That is different. It is just different. At Miami, you have 18 year old guys and you are wide-eyed and things like that. Here it is a little bit different, especially coming from a top-notch program you are used to some of the things here. You are not awestruck by a lot of the players, the system or the schemes. You just come in and you play and you try to get in to it as fast as you can. At UM, it is different. You are like, ‘whoa, what is going on?'

Q)How many friends and family will be at the Miami game?

Vilma: Too many.

Q)How would you grade your first two NFL games?

Vilma: I'd give myself a B because a lot of it is really just gaining experience. There is only so much textbook and X's and O's you can do before the game and before you get out there. Once you are in there, you just have to play. I think that going with what I know so far and being a rookie, I think I did pretty well.

Q)What is the biggest different between the college and pro game?

Vilma: The speed and knowing what you have to do. There are so many checks and so many different calls and so many schemes that the offense is going to run at you. You just have to understand it all. You have to understand the concepts.

Jets Insider Top Stories