Broncos HC Sean Payton Recruits Coach From New Orleans

Getty Offensive tackle Zach Strief walking off the field with quarterback Drew Brees.

After Sean Payton’s introduction as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, reports of who will fill out his coaching staff have begun surfacing.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “the Broncos are expected to hire Zach Strief as their new O-line coach. The long-time Saints offensive lineman standout and favorite of Sean Payton, he quickly ascended in the coaching ranks after serving as assistant OL coach. Now lands in Denver.”

Jeff Duncan, a sports columnist for, added that Strief’s joining Denver is a “major loss for the Saints. Zach is a rising star in the profession, one of the best young offensive coaches in the league. A major acquisition for Sean Payton as he assembles his Broncos staff.”

Zach Strief’s Background in the NFL

To fans of the New Orleans Saints, Strief, 39, is a familiar name because he has been with the organization since being drafted in seventh round out of Northwestern in 2006. He became a five-time offensive captain and was a part of the Saints’ Super Bowl season in 2009. Strief showed versatility as a player, starting 85 games at right tackle. He played 12 seasons for the franchise and retired after 2017 at 34.

After his career ended, Strief spent a brief time covering the Saints on local radio. Then, in 2021, he was hired by the Saints as an assistant offensive line coach to work with Payton and his staff. New Orleans didn’t have their best season as a franchise in 2021, finishing the year 9-8, but Pro Football Focus gave the offensive line a run-blocking grade of 60.1 (25th) and a pass blocking grade of 64.8 (20th).

According to John Sigler of Saints Wire, “[Strief] played a big part in the development of young players like Cesar Ruiz, Landon Young, Calvin Throckmorton, Lewis Kidd, and Trevor Penning.” Sigler wrote that Strief “quickly climbed the ranks and is widely respected around the league.” He added: “It’s a major loss for the organization.”

Zach Strief’s Potential Impact on the Broncos

Strief has his work cut out for him as he starts to rebuild a Denver offensive line that allowed 63 sacks, which led the NFL. The Broncos could also be looking for a new left tackle. Garett Bolles, who has played just 19 games in two seasons, is set to account for $17 million against the cap in 2023 and could become a cap casualty if there is no restructuring. There is a lot of work to do.

During his February 6 introductory press conference, Payton outlined his vision for what he wants from the Broncos in 2023, not only with quarterback Russell Wilson but with every player and how he will put them in the best possible position to succeed.

“It’s the same case and the same goal for us with every player on this roster,” Payton said. “It’s easy to point out what players don’t do well. … I kinda was taught early on what is it that they [the players] do well, and let’s have them do those things.”

Strief is coming to Denver to put the Broncos’ offensive linemen in the best possible position to succeed. He should play an integral role in developing players like Quinn Meinerz, Lloyd Cushenberry III and Luke Wattenberg along the line.