NewOrleansSaints.com is giving fans an opportunity to submit their questions for their favorite players as part of our Behind the Facemask series. Throughout training camp, the Saints will announce a selected player via the team's Twitter account (@Saints) and fans will be able to reply with questions.
On Thursday, fans were able to submit questions for T Zach Strief.
Strief was selected by the Saints in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft. After spending five seasons as a reserve, Strief made the move to the starting right tackle position in 2011. He was able to use his size and strength to help pave the way for an offense that recorded an NFL-record 7,474 total net yards. The offensive line as a unit only allowed 24 sacks last season, tied for the second-lowest total in the league, and only five in the last eight games. Strief has played in 82 games with 16 starts in his career and has been a part of an offensive line that won the Madden Most Valuable Protectors of the Year in 2009 and 2011.
What do you prefer: run blocking or pass blocking?
"I think all linemen like run blocking because as a lineman you want physical contact. That is what you like about football. It is less obvious when you get beat in the running game. You want to grind in there and you don't want to get Drew (Brees) hit. We throw the ball so much that I think sometimes you are more comfortable in the passing game because we are doing it more."
Who is the most challenging pass-rusher to face in the NFC South?
"I think you look at a guy like John Abraham. He is a veteran guy, he is a pass-rusher. He is a pure pass-rushing guy. For me, those get-off guys, the guys that can get off the ball and gain ground and get on your edge are always a little bit harder for me. Obviously, a guy that has been around that long and has that many sacks is a great player. He is a guy that will probably be considered for the Hall of Fame one day. It is hard to say someone other than him."
What is your toughest match-up here in camp?
"I would say Cam Jordan. I think he has done an awesome job this offseason. I think he is stronger. He has more awareness as a pass-rusher. I think that our rush patterns are wildly improved from last year in terms of those guys getting to the points in a pass-rush instead of just running. You look at a guy like Cameron Jordan, a big, physical guy, strong guy, that is getting across your face, getting in front of the quarterback, pushing the pocket, I think he has had a really good camp and I am excited to see him play this year."
Has the offensive line had any problems picking up variations while facing the new defense?
"In training camp, it is always harder because the offense has all of their plays in and the defense has all of their packages in. There is just a lot of variation. Camp is always the hardest time of the year. When you get in to preseason games, it is always easier because your plays are fewer and you have less in the game-plan. In season, you are actually game-planning against a defense. We have a great coaching staff that puts us in good position to have easier blocks than we do in this camp. There are some that you have to block but we wouldn't normally call that play because it is a hard block."
What is something that is a part of your job that an average fan wouldn't pick up on?
"There is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. There are no fans in meetings. There are no bleachers in the film room. I think that there is probably a lot more information gathering that happens off the field that you can't see. The field is for working techniques and methods but it is in the film room that you come up with your game-plan. Every game is different because every player is different and you can't block every guy identically the same. There is a lot of film work where us as players are going to sit in there and talk about how to block a certain guy. People don't get to see that. Every game is a little but different. That is probably the thing that people don't realize the most."
Would you think about going in to radio after you are done playing?
"I think I certainly would. I don't think it is something that I say 'that is what I want to do when I am done' but when you play a sport your whole life, it is hard to walk away from. When you have an opportunity to stay involved in some capacity, to have a pass to come to all of these practices and watch guys and still be around the team, I think that would be awesome because it is hard to walk away from it."
What is your favorite restaurant?
"That is the hardest question in existence in New Orleans. I don't think you can pick a favorite restaurant. There are too many good restaurants. In terms of a fine dining restaurant, I usually look at August or Mila. Those are two that I really love, I love both of those chefs. The staff at Emeril's is second-to-none in the entire world. Then you look at casual places, obviously New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company I love. They have been very good to me. That is New Orleans to me. Stuff like that is New Orleans food. I used to live at Harbor Seafood in Kenner when I was a rookie. It is a little local seafood place."
What do you like to do in your off time?
"In the offseason, I like to play a lot of golf. I think that having something to focus and work on is important to me because your life is working on something here. We talk about constant skill development here. It is the same thing for me golfing. I am not very good at it so I have to work and work at it. It keeps me a little more structured. It gives me something mentally to do in the offseason. I spend as much time as I can with my wife in the offseason. It is a little harder now. She owns a business so you try to get as much quality time as you can."