Saints tackle Zach Strief enters 2013 injury-free

Metairie -- Part of Sean Payton's initial draft class in 2006, Zach Strief is now a veteran leader on the offensive line.

"Come out and be a good player every day, be an example," Strief said. "At the end of the day, all you can do in training camp is work hard."

Strief missed several games with injury last season, but in 2013, he's 100 percent healthy.

Sean Payton spoke highly of the offensive tackle, "He's smart and he's got a lot of experience. He's probably in the best playing shape he's been in a while. He is injury-free. He had an offseason where he wasn't really rehabbing an injury, but he is in the best shape he has been in a while."

Mark Ingram added, "He looks real good, a leader of this team, of the offense and in the huddle. Just to have a guy like that with experience and a guy that's real knowledgeable, he's a good person off the field as well, so it's nothing but an asset to have a guy like that on your team as well."

With Drew Brees under center, the potential is there for the Saints to break NFL and some of their own franchise records, but Strief was very adamant today in saying the Saints must do much more than just rely on number nine.

According to Strief, "A lot of your excitement comes from knowing that you have a captain behind you, a guy who can run the ship. At the same time, he can't do it alone. We gotta be able to run the ball and keep people off balance. The years that we've been really good are the years that we've been able to do that, so right now that's the focus for us, just getting that running game going, and really being a powerful running team."

And on a lighter note, Strief plays it coy when facing his defensive teammates, not allowing them to gain too much of an edge during training camp.

"The thing about Zach is that Zach won't tell me what I'm doing until after camp is over," said defensive end Cam Jordan. "He's not trying to definitely give me any tips or clues on pass rush yet, but he's so seasoned and veteran, and he's just a great and smart tackle."