NEW ORLEANS -- Mark Sanchez may have taken the NFL by storm, but don't count Jonathan Vilma among his biggest fans. The Saints middle linebacker said he hopes the NFL fines the Jets rookie quarterback for the chop block he executed on Vilma during the course of Darren Sharper's 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter of New Orleans 24-10 win over New York.
Sanchez threw a cut block at Vilma's knees near midfield on Sharper's team-record interception return, trying to take out the Saints linebacker, who was out ahead of Sharper and attempting to block. Sanchez was penalized for a personal foul on the play.
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was fined $10,000 earlier this season for an illegal crackback block against Texans safety Eugene Wilson in a preseason game. Sanchez could be in for a similar penalty.
"Actually, I was surprised he (cut me)," Vilma said in the Saints locker room. "I was very surprised. I don't know what he was doing, to be honest with you. I saw him, and thought he was just trying to buy time, and then he goes and cuts me. It was kind of dirty, and he got the penalty for it."
When it was suggested to Vilma that the league might fine Sanchez for the low block, the Saints veteran said: "Good. I saw the flags, and I let it go. There was no reason to go try and get in his face over it. I hope he gets fined for it. Like that guy, oh, yeah, Brett Favre.''
Vilma said Sanchez did get his knees with the block, but did no damage. "It didn't hurt," he said. "But, oh, yeah, he got 'em."
On the Jets sideline after the play, New York offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer appeared to be informing his young quarterback, perhaps for the first time, that throwing such a block was not allowed in the NFL. Sanchez responded by looking duly chastised.