Zach Strief back in Saints starting lineup


The Saints offensive line will get Zach Strief back at right tackle this week.

Strief has missed the last five games with a knee injury, but he practiced fully on Wednesday and coach Sean Payton said he will start Sunday against the Buccaneers. That should be a good thing for a Saints line that struggled terribly against the Rams in Week Eight, allowing six sacks on their way to a 31-21 loss.

Their depth took a hit, though. Charles Brown, who had been playing in Strief’s place, is headed to injured reserve with a hip flexor injury according to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Brown, a second-round pick in 2010, played fairly well in his early outings, but gave up two of the sacks against the Rams. He’s had several injuries in his brief time in the NFL and underwent back surgery during the offseason.

The Saints signed offensive lineman Ray Willis to take his place on the roster. Willis started 26 games in six years with the Seahawks before missing all of last season with a knee injury. He spent training camp with the Dolphins, but didn’t make the team.