There’s a glaring weakness on the New Orleans Saints otherwise talented offensive line. That would be 32-year old starting right tackle Zach Strief. Although he’s been a mainstay on the Saints offensive line for years, he’s beginning to decline and that’s something the Philadelphia Eagles must exploit in their game this Sunday.
Considering the Saints spent their first round pick on offensive tackle Andrus Peat, they’d probably like to start him over Strief at this point. But that may not be possible considering how banged up the rest of their offensive line is at the moment. Three of their starting offensive linemen, including rising star left tackle Terron Armstead, missed or were limited during practice on Thursday, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.
"Three of New Orleans’ starting offensive linemen are on the injury report, leaving their status uncertain for Sunday’s game at the Philadelphia Eagles.Left tackle Terron Armstead missed practice for the second straight day Thursday with a knee injury. Left guard Tim Lelito missed practice with a back injury Thursday after he had fully practiced on Wednesday. And right guard Jahri Evans was limited in practice for the second straight day as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery that sidelined him for the last two games."
All of these injuries hint at one major thing for the Eagles, Strief will likely be on the field this Sunday. Although their pass rushers have struggled to start the season, this may be the game where they can really target a side of the field and tee off. Strief has already surrendered four sacks, which is tied for the most among offensive tackles in the NFL this season. He’s also been called for three penalties, all of which have been accepted, according to Pro Football Focus.
But don’t take my word for it, here’s what some Saints’ fans had to say regarding Strief’s performance this past week against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football:
Some of those are just mean…but still hilarious. It’s clear that Strief is falling out of favor in New Orleans among the fans. While the team likely agrees with them and would prefer to make a change, it doesn’t seem like that will be possible this week. That means it’s up to Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis to get creative and send some pressure in Strief’s direction. It’s usually tough to rattle Drew Brees but it seems like Strief is letting quite a few pass rushers get by him this season.
Remember those games last season against the New York Giants in Week 6 and the Carolina Panthers in Week 10? Do you remember how Connor Barwin absolutely feasted on struggling offensive tackles to the tune of three or more sacks in each of those games? Yeah…we might see a repeat performance of that from Barwin this week if Strief does end up starting at right tackle for the Saints once again.
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