When a new head coach is brought into a franchise, the changes are swift and certain. This is no different with the Denver Broncos, who acquired Sean Payton in a trade with the New Orleans Saints.

In general, the Broncos brought Payton in to upgrade the culture, but for specifics, the offensive line needs a little work, especially if they want to keep quarterback Russell Wilson upright.

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For that task, Sean Payton called on a familiar face, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

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Zach Strief was a draft pick of the Saints in 2006, and played his entire career with the club until he retired in 2018. Payton was his coach the whole time, and they won a Super Bowl title together in 2009. Strief was also on Payton’s staff as the assistant offensive line coach in 2021.

The task awaiting Strief is monumental. The good thing is they can only go up from what the Broncos’ offensive line showed in 2022. The team gave up an NFL-high 63 sacks. In other words, even if Wilson wasn’t looking lost in the backfield, there wouldn’t have been much time for him to do anything due to lack of protection. Denver was also last in the league in points per game and 21st in yards.

Coming into this season, the Broncos were looked at as a team that could make some noise in the AFC upon Wilson’s arrival. Now, they’re looking at foundation rebuilding. That starts with making sure the offensive line can be functional going forward.

Payton hopes Strief is the man that can lead the way in that regard.