After what seemed like an eternity for New Orleans Saints fans, the team got a much needed bye week to recoup and regroup. Hopefully this bye week also gave the Saints a chance to heal some injuries and return to the practice field and play this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Wide receiver Lance Moore and tight end Jimmy Graham are two offensive weapons that the team will surely need. Moore was held out from practice the week before and the San Diego Chargers game due to a hamstring injury and Greg Camarillo filled his spot adequately enough but having Moore back is key.
Graham actually injured himself in the Chargers game with what appeared to be an ankle injury. He was seen leaving afterwards in a walking boot and rumors flew yesterday that Graham had a high ankle sprain and would be out for 3-6 weeks. Mike Florio reports that Graham will play though according to a “source.”
Defensively, the Saints are hoping to get several players back. Linebackers David Hawthorne and Jonathan Casillas along with cornerback Jabari Greer are on the mend. Of course don’t forget about the most watched player looking to get back on the field, linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Hawthorne(hamstring) and Casillas(neck) both were held out of the Chargers game as well while Greer reportedly aggravated his previous groin injury. Vilma has said he will come off the Physically Unable to Perform(PUP) list and not only practice, but play this Sunday.
Vilma’s status will be evaluated by the coaching staff to see if he is ready, but if he is then he could bring some versatility in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. Spagnuolo has said that there could be different linebacker combinations that Vilma is used in if he’s good to go.
The return of Hawthorne and Casillas would help out the weakside linebacker position that seems to be always in a constant rotation. Some analyst said that although Vilma plays middle linebacker, he could be used at the weakside if he is activated.
Defensive end Turk McBride has been completely absent for over a month due to an ankle injury and it’s still unclear if he’ll return or not to practice much less a game. McBride was long thought to be the backup to Will Smith, but Martez Wilson has been seeing snaps instead.