Zach Strief

Coaching Notes: Broncos, Montgomery, Robertson, Johnson

After the announcement that he would become the next head coach in Denver, Sean Payton‘s new coaching staff is beginning to take form. Recent reports have clued us in to expected hires for the offensive line and tight ends coaching positions and have revealed the fate of a holdover from last year.

At offensive line coach, the Broncos are expected to hire Zach Strief, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Strief is a former seventh-round draft pick for the Saints that spent five years on the bench before taking over at right tackle for the retiring Jon Stinchcomb. He would go on to start the next five seasons as the team’s right tackle. Strief spent all 12 years of his playing career in New Orleans before eventually retiring a Saint in 2019. Since then, Strief has been working towards a role in coaching, serving as the Saints assistant offensive line coach for the past two seasons. A role as the Broncos offensive line coach would be his first opportunity as the lead coach at that position.

Payton’s poaching of his former coaching staff may not stop there. Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported today that Saints offensive assistant Declan Doyle is being considered for the Broncos tight ends coaching position. This would also be a first-time position coach hire. Doyle has spent four years in his current role with New Orleans. His only prior experience was as an offensive student assistant at the University of Iowa.

In the opposite direction, the Broncos’ inside linebackers coach from last season, Peter Hansen, is reportedly not going to be a part of the new staff, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. In his only year at the job, Hansen coached linebackers Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell to career highs in tackles and tackles for loss. Singleton’s 163 total tackles ranked fifth in the NFL this season. A likely outcome would see Hansen joining his former defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero in Carolina.

Here are a few more coaching notes from around the league:

  • The Lions added a strong piece to their coaching staff today, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, reportedly hiring Scottie Montgomery in the role of assistant head coach/running backs coach. Montgomery had spent the last two years as the running backs coach in Indianapolis coaching up young super star Jonathan Taylor. Despite a third-year slump devastated by injuries, Taylor’s sophomore season benefitted greatly from the addition of Montgomery to the staff as he would lead the NFL with 1,811 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in 2021. The respected veteran position coach was a popular candidate for many other jobs around the league. The hire is a big one for Detroit.
  • The Saints are on the lookout for a new defensive backs coach after dismissing co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Kris Richard earlier this week. Anderson from CBS Sports reported that Cardinals defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson is being considered for a role that may be defined as secondary coach/passing game coordinator.
  • Former Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson was back in Texas this weekend as the Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach interviewed for a senior offensive assistant staff position with the Texans, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. The Houston-native worked closely with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterback Kirk Cousins this season. He’s quickly becoming a hot name in coaching circles, earning an interview this offseason for the Chargers offensive coordinator position that went to Kellen Moore.

Zach Strief To Join Saints’ Coaching Staff

After playing 12 seasons with the Saints, Zach Strief will return to the organization as a coach. The Saints are hiring Strief as their assistant offensive line coach, according to WWL Radio.

Strief has worked with WWL as a play-by-play announcer in New Orleans since retiring in 2018, but he will join Sean Payton‘s staff. Previous Saints assistant O-line coach Brendan Nugent is expected to take another position on staff, Mike Triplett of tweets.

Part of Payton’s first Saints draft class, as a seventh-round pick in 2006, Strief only played in New Orleans during his NFL career. After serving as a fill-in starter early in his career, Strief became a full-timer at right tackle in the 2010s. He spent six-plus seasons as the Saints’ regular right tackle, with knee injuries in 2017 ending that run.

Saints’ Zach Strief Announces Retirement

As expected, Saints offensive lineman Zach Strief has announced his retirement from the NFL. Strief finalized the decision with a Monday afternoon press conference attended by teammates Drew Brees, Coby Fleener, Mark Ingram, Thomas Morstead, and Cam Jordan. 

Strief, a seventh round pick in 2006, spent all 12 seasons of his NFL career with the Saints. The longtime team captain leaves the game after earning millions of dollars and a Super Bowl ring. The lineman was set to earn $4MM in salary and bonuses this season, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett (via Twitter).

Strief turned in a strong campaign in 2016, but he was limited in 2017 after suffering serious knee injuries. In light of his medical issues, Strief is opting to transition to a new phase of his life with his 35th birthday on the horizon.

The Saints will miss Strief, but they have two quality starting tackles in Terron Armstead and 2017 first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk.

Saints OT Zach Strief To Retire

Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief is expected to retire this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Strief has yet to announce his decision, but that should take place soon. Zach Strief (Vertical)

The reality is that we all love some part of this game and there’s a part of that that’s just in us,” Strief said in January as he hinted at retirement. “So it makes it very difficult always when that happens, when that time comes. And like I said, I think take some time, really make that decision away from football and make it with your family. When it is time, I will have no regrets. I know that when I decide that this has gone on so much longer and so much better than I ever could have imagined.”

Strief turned in one of his best seasons to date in 2016, but he was limited in 2017 after suffering serious knee injuries. Fortunately for the Saints, they already have two quality tackles in-house at a time when teams are scrambling for quality linemen. Terron Armstead will continue as the team’s starting left tackle with 2017 first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk on the right side. Last year, Ramczyk graded out as the No. 8 tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Armstead wasn’t too far behind at No. 25.

Strief leaves the NFL after 12 seasons, all of which were spent in New Orleans. Going back to 2006, he appeared in 158 games with 94 starts.

Extra Points: Saints, Strief, Patriots, Flores

Saints right tackle Zach Strief is considering retirement, as Nick Underhill of The Advocate writes.

The reality is that we all love some part of this game and there’s a part of that that’s just in us,” Strief said. “So it makes it very difficult always when that happens, when that time comes. And like I said, I think take some time, really make that decision away from football and make it with your family. When it is time, I will have no regrets. I know that when I decide that this has gone on so much longer and so much better than I ever could have imagined.”

Strief still feels like he can play at a high level and believes that his 2016 campaign was among his best. However, 2017 was a trying year for him after he suffered major knee injuries in the fall. If Strief walks away this offseason, the Saints will have to prioritize the RT position in the spring.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • If Arizona ultimately hires Patriots‘ linebackers coach Brian Flores head coach, New England would become the first NFL team to lose three assistant coaches to head coaching jobs in the same offseason, Adam Schefter of (on Twitter) notes. It is expected that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will become the Colts’ next head coach while defensive coordinator Matt Patricia appears to be headed for the Lions. Flores’ odds of getting the Cardinals’ top job improved on Wednesday morning when Mike Munchak declined to return for a second interview.
  • Former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell could be a candidate for the Bears’ quarterbacks coach position, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Matt Nagy and Bevell have a common link in that they both have history with Brad Childress. Nagy is close with Childress and Bevell served as Childress’ offensive coordinator in Minnesota.
  • The Texans have parted ways with Jason Lowrey as their director of football operations, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Lowrey was close with former GM Rick Smith and new GM Brian Gaine likely has someone else in mind for the position.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Bears, Lions, Saints

The 49ers considered Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft before deciding to trade the pick to the Bears, who ended up selecting the North Carolina product, coach Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco.

“I really liked Mitchell. He was really the only guy I flew out and saw. I spent some time with Mitchell and got to work him out. I spent a few hours watching tape with him,” Shanahan said.

“But that wasn’t something we were going to do with our pick. We felt like we had to go a lot of other different directions. Our goal was to add picks and get as many players as possible, and we are happy with what we did.”

Instead of taking the quarterback, San Francisco traded back one spot with Chicago and picked up the team’s first-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2017, and the team’s third-round pick in 2018. Interesting to note, that third-round pick was traded to the Saints, who tabbed breakout running back and Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Alvin Kamara.

Shanahan will get to see Trubisky up close on Sunday when the Niners travel to take on the Bears.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Sticking with the Bears and 49ers theme; Shanahan also said he was interested in hiring Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. A well-respected and longtime NFL coach, Fangio could be a candidate to replace John Fox in Chicago, should the coach be let go in the coming weeks. “I think Vic definitely deserves to be [a head coach]. He’s one of the coaches I’ve respected the most, just from going against him,” Shanahan said.
  • Though Fangio is an option, the Bears are likely to invest in an offensive coach to groom Trubisky, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Leading the list, of course, is Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel, who always seems to be atop everyone’s wish list.
  • Lions head coach Jim Caldwell should be safe if the team finishes 10-6, even if the team misses the playoffs writes ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. He added that he expects Caldwell will return as head coach as of right now, but that could change in the coming weeks. Caldwell has managed two winning campaigns in his first three seasons in Detroit, or the same amount the Lions produced in the 14 years prior to his arrival.
  • The Saints will not use their remaining IR-to-return spot, writes Joel A. Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate. The hope was that tackle Zach Strief would be an option to return, but that shelved after he underwent to repair his ACL and MCL two weeks ago. No other players on IR have a time table that would allow them to return.

Saints Won’t Bring Zach Strief Off IR

A trouble spot at the beginning of the season, the Saints’ tackle situation has stabilized as they made their way into the NFC playoff race. But they won’t have an insurance policy that was once possible.

Zach Strief will not come off IR this season, Mike Triplett of reports. The veteran right tackle has been out since early October due to ACL and MCL injuries, and Triplett reports those maladies required surgery earlier this month.

Upon placing Strief on IR with what was then called an MCL sprain, the Saints hoped he would be able to return this season. But the 34-year-old blocker now has an uncertain future after a 12-year run in New Orleans.

While Strief and Drew Brees are the longest-tenured players on the roster, Strief has another year on his contract — unlike Brees. But the veteran tackle has taken a year-to-year approach with his career.

Coming off a serious injury and having seen first-rounder Ryan Ramczyk commandeer his position, Strief could see his tenure with the team conclude. However, the former seventh-round pick does have a team-friendly deal ($1.1MM base, $5.1MM cap figure).

Ramczyk and Terron Armstead are now entrenched as New Orleans’ tackles, although Armstead — who missed time with a labrum injury this season — is now dealing with thigh and shoulder ailments. Strief took over the Saints’ right tackle job in 2011 and has 98 career starts, including playoffs, during his 12-year run.

Saints Place Zach Strief On IR

The Saints have placed offensive tackle Zach Strief on injured reserve, a source tells’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Strief suffered an MCL sprain earlier this year but the team was hoping to avoid IR. Zach Strief (vertical)

By placing Strief on IR, the Saints will have to keep him out of action for a minimum of eight weeks. The good news is that offensive line coach Dan Roushar says Strief may be a candidate to return later in the season (Twitter link via Joel A. Erickson of The Advocate).

Strief suffered his injury during the team’s season opener and that was a bad blow considering that fellow starting tackle Terron Armstead was also injured to start the year. The Saints have managed to go 2-2 even with their banged up offensive line, but it remains to be seen if they can keep things afloat going forward.

In 2016, the 34-year-old played more than 97% of the Saints’ offensive snaps and posted perhaps the best campaign of his career. He graded as the No. 12 overall tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus, which gave him excellent marks in the run and pass game.

The Saints are on bye in Week 5 before facing the Lions in Week 6.

Extra Points: Steelers, Tuitt, Saints

Here’s a look around the NFL:

  • Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt has a chance to play this week against Minnesota, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday (Twitter link via Jeremy Fowler of Tuitt has been classified as week-to-week with his bicep injury.
  • In light of the Zach Strief injury news, Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter) notes that likely replacement Senio Kelemete can earn $200K by playing in 50% of the team’s snaps and up to $600K at 70%. The Saints will be without the tackle for at least a few weeks.
  • Texans guard Jeff Allen is expected to miss at least one game with an ankle injury, Mark Berman of FOX 26 tweets. Allen, one of Houston’s starting guards, is in year two of a four-year, $28MM pact. He appeared in 14 games last season, all starts.
  • Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton is working out for the Texans this week, a source tells’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The former Pittsburgh receiver could round out a banged up unit that is missing both Bruce Ellington (concussion) and Will Fuller (collarbone).
  • The Chiefs gave running back Akeem Hunt an upgraded practice squad contract, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. He’ll now make $36K per week, which comes out to $615K for the year. Hunt signed on with KC’s taxi squad on Sept. 5 and it sounds like the Chiefs weren’t the only team interested in his services.

Saints RT Zach Strief Suffers MCL Sprain

Saints tackle Zach Strief suffered an MCL sprain during Monday night’s game against the Vikings and is expected to miss a few weeks, Ian Rapoport of tweets. It’s a bad break for the 0-1 Saints who are already without left tackle Terron ArmsteadZach Strief (Vertical)

[RELATED: Saints Release Jon Dorenbos]

When Strief exited the game, he was replaced by reserve Senio Kelemete. Unless the Saints add a tackle in the coming days, they’ll probably head into their Week 2 contest with Kelemete and rookie Ryan Ramczyk starting at left tackle. That’s not the O-Line you want against the Patriots, even though their pass rush is shaky.

Last year, the 33-year-old Strief played more than 97% of the Saints’ offensive snaps and posted perhaps the best campaign of his career. He graded as the No. 12 overall tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus, which gave him excellent marks in the run and pass game.

Strief, a 12-year veteran, has not missed significant time since the 2012 season.