Halftime thoughts on Saints-Bucs

TAMPA, Fla. -- Linebacker Jonathan Vilma is back in action, but his presence hasn’t solved New Orleans’ defensive problems.

The Saints gave up two first-quarter touchdowns and they’ve done a nice job of making Tampa Bay’s offense look good.

But Drew Brees and the offense have gotten the Saints back into the game. Brees hit David Thomas with a touchdown pass with 15 seconds left in the first half to give the Saints a 28-21 lead. Brees already has thrown for 313 yards and four touchdown passes.

Vilma, who spent the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list because of a knee injury, didn’t start, but he’s been shuffling in and out of the lineup. He got good pressure on Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman on one play and broke up a pass, but juggled the ball and couldn’t come up with an interception.

Tampa Bay’s defense has had its own troubles. Even though tight end Jimmy Graham is out with an injury, the Bucs have had problems matching up with the New Orleans passing game. The Bucs have put almost no pressure on Brees.

Also, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that New Orleans assistant head coach Joe Vitt plans to meet the team when it lands at Louis Armstrong International Airport on Sunday night. Vitt was suspended for the first six games of the season, but will take control of the Saints after this game. Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer has been serving as the interim head coach.

I’ll be back with a Rapid Reaction on the Saints and Bucs as soon as the game is over.