Saints’ week off comes as slew of key players near return


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints’ bye this week comes as a slew of prominent players who have been sidelined early this season get close to returning to action. A number of starters or top regulars such as receiver Michael Thomas or defensive tackle David Onyemata haven’t played yet this season. But the Saints have remained competitive by winning three of their first five games. Coach Sean Payton says something important to ensure the attitude across the roster and staff is one of avoiding excuses and always seeking new ways to win. He also says it requires constantly monitoring the development and readiness of potential fill-ins.