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Saints OL Lewis Kidd talks ‘whirlwind’ rookie year, what he learned from Zach Strief

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It’s been a busy year for Lewis Kidd. The former Montana State Bobcat made the jump from FCS to the NFL as the only undrafted rookie to be selected for the New Orleans Saints’ opening-day roster in 2022, and he wound up playing some really important snaps for an offense that needed all the help it could get.

“But I’ve enjoyed the process,” Kidd told 406 Sports’ Victor Flores. “It’s been a whirlwind of a year. It’s been really fun. It’s gone really quickly, but excited and glad I made it through my first year, and excited to get back for more.”

Kidd ultimately appeared in nine games for the Saints as a reserve, helping to fill in at three different line spots and taking reps on special teams to boot. It was a valuable experience and he’s eager to build off of it in 2023. But some of his most important lessons came from someone who isn’t with the organization anymore: assistant offensive line coach Zach Strief, who has since left for a promotion on Sean Payton’s staff with the Denver Broncos.

“Coach Strief was a big believer of, ‘Every rep you take has to be 100% full speed.’ Even when you’re doing a walkthrough, if you’re just out there kind of BSing and taking 50% sets, that’s not going to help you for the game.” As Strief warned him, there would be no opportunities to take things at half-speed during games: “You get to Sunday, and those dudes are not going half-speed. It’s 100 miles an hour the whole time, and you don’t want to be that guy who takes a bad set or is late off the ball or is doing something that you shouldn’t be and causes the quarterback to get hit.”

Flexibility is the name of Kidd’s game. He mainly played left tackle in college at Montana State but switched to the right side in the preseason, and logged more minutes inside at left guard than anywhere else during the regular season. He’s said his coaches didn’t want him overcommitting to one spot over another, saying: “I think they want me to be the guy that can play multiple positions. I’m working a lot of guard stuff, still working a lot of tackle stuff and obviously still working on some center stuff, too.”

It’s easy to see why Kidd made it through roster cuts last year, and why the Saints trusted him in some high-leverage moments. He comes off as an intelligent young man who understands the game and his role on offense at a high level. He’ll have more opportunities to show his coaches what he’s capable of in 2023, and if this interview is any indication, he’s eager to get back to work.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire