The New Orleans Saints will return to practice today after players were given a full week off during the bye. Today’s “bonus” session will be closed to the media, though, and the Saints aren’t required to release an injury report until Wednesday. So the team won’t be issuing any updates yet on the status of tight end Jimmy Graham (foot), receiver Lance Moore (hand) and safety Roman Harper (knee), among others recovering from injuries.
We do know of one injured player that is expected to return to practice -- linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who tweeted last week that he’ll be back on the practice field now that he’s eligible after spending the first six weeks on short-term injured reserve. Vilma won’t be eligible to return to the active roster until next week, though.
The Saints (5-1) will host the Buffalo Bills (3-4) this coming Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bills are coming off of a dramatic come-from-behind road victory after they rallied late to beat the Miami Dolphins, 23-21, on Sunday.
The Saints have won four straight games following bye weeks, dating back to 2009.
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The Times-Picayune’s Katherine Terrell did a very nice job with this reflection on Bum Phillips’ tenure as the Saints’ coach after his death this weekend. She talked with several former Saints players, including Hall of Fame outside linebacker Rickey Jackson, who said, “He was a cowboy. He coached the same way that he looked.”
The T-P’s Larry Holder broke down the intriguing issues ahead for the Saints, including Graham’s contract talks and running back Mark Ingram’s looming return to the backfield.
The Advocate’s Sheldon Mickles reviewed five high and five lows from the first six weeks of the Saints’ season.
If you want to do some scouting on the Saints’ next opponent, colleague Mike Rodak has you covered on the ESPN.com Bills team page. Here’s Rodak’s report on the defense coming up big for the Bills once again at Miami.
The Advocate’s Gary Estwick took the focus off the field with an extensive piece on how Saints cornerback Jabari Greer and other players stay committed to family despite the burdens of the NFL schedule.