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Thread: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle ..

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    “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle ..

    From IMG Academies BLog

    Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

    Coming out of Ohio’s Bedford High, which also boasts Chris Chambers and Lee Evans as alums, Rodger Saffold barely registered a blip on the recruiting radar. Offered scholarships by only a few D-I schools, Saffold chose Indiana, only to anchor the offensive line at left tackle for three-plus years after earning the starting spot midway through his freshman year.

    After enrolling in the NFL Draft, analysts tabbed him as a middle-round pick. No problem, he thought. After dominant performances in the NFL Combine, personal workouts and interviews, Saffold went 33rd overall in the draft to the St. Louis Rams.

    No way he could start at left tackle, the personal bodyguard for the highest-paid rookie in NFL history, right? Not only did he start every game, but earned All-Rookie status and helped Sam Bradford get the same honor.

    So what’s next? In his own words between workouts at IMG Academies:

    “When the season is over, your body is pretty much trashed. You do what you can to keep it at a certain level, but there’s only so much you can do. The best you will ever feel is the first day of training camp. After that day, you’ll never feel like that again for the rest of the season. You have to prepare for it, though, or you’ll break down.”

    Saffold starts every workout with a dynamic warm-up to prepare his body and prevent injuries.


    “(Sam Bradford’s) work ethic and dedication are amazing, but what I like about him is that he’ s not a robot. If the coaches call a play, and he has questions about it, he’ll talk to them and explain what he’s thinking. We’ve been roommates from day one. I want us to have that Jeff Saturday/Peyton Manning kind of thing. It’s already gotten to the point where I know how much room he needs to operate and I can sense it even when backpedaling. Not only am I keeping him away from hits and sacks, but I need to keep people out of his way.”

    Saffold splits his daily workouts into two sessions: Speed/agility and strength. After doing hill workouts the day before, Saffold works with the renowned Loren Seagrave, Director of Speed and Movement at IMG, on improving his footwork on the IMG Performance Institute turf field.

    “The best thing about being an offensive lineman is that you can be as violent as you want between the whistle. I’ve seen hitting, grabbing, everything. To put someone who is supposed to be one of the strongest people on the field on their back is an unbelievable feeling. There’s no running start. It’s just pure strength. It’s like a battle of bears out there.”

    Saffold trains with other NFL players at IMG Academies, but most are at the skill positions, forcing him to keep up with players who are known for their speed and quickness. On this day, he trained with Green Bay rookie Randall Cobb (blue shirt), Minnesota QB Joe Webb (red shirt), Minnesota QB Christian Ponder, Mark Herzlich and others.

    “I’m the new breed of left tackle. We’re almost like bigger tight ends. With defensive ends getting lighter and faster, we have to do the same, but still keep our power.”

    During this workout, Saffold and the other NFL players alternated positions on a circuit workout machine that tests stamina, builds endurance and strengthens multiples muscles.

    “I like the way I feel here. Players know exactly how they feel at a place. Honestly, it’s hard getting up every day and giving everything you have on your own when you don’t know when you’ll play again. With Jeff Dillman, though, you don’t need any motivation. He won’t tolerate it if you aren’t giving your all. He won’t let you waste his time.”

    Loren Seagrave (orange shirt) and Jeff Dillman, Head of Physical Conditioning (black shirt), oversee all workouts that often leave the athletes gasping for air or sprawled out on the ground.

    “The hill workouts are brutal. They just break you down, then you go into the weight room to build back up. There aren’t many offensive linemen here, so I’ve got to keep up with DB’s, wide receivers, QB’s. I think to myself, there’s no way they should outrun you. It’s turned me into a machine. If you don’t think that’s going to help me this season, you don’t know football.“

    Saffold grinds during the rope undulation portion of the circuit training.

    “I don’t want to be just a left tackle. I want to be the best. The money is great and it’s good to be financially secure, but that’s not what drives me. If it were about money, I’d work hard enough to be a backup and call it a career after seven years. I play this game to be the best. The best ever.”

    The speed and agility portion is over for the morning, but Saffold will head to the weight room for another hour of lifting.


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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    I really love what I've read here, pure heart, dedication, and talent. He's more into it for the love of the game than for the money. If only the majority of the NFL players had the same attitude as him. He's already carrying the shades of Orlando Pace on him if not his own shades will surpass him.

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    Unbelievable. This kid is going to be something special. He and Sam are going to grow together. I love everything about him.

    Madden 11 has him rated at 74. I look at that and think about throwing up. I dont mind much because its a game but damn give him some recognition. He will probably be in the pro bowl next year.

    GO RAMS 2011-2012 IS OUR YEAR!! SB46 IS OURS!!

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    I always aspire to be the third best at what I do. I don't know why Saffold would want to be #1. Then everyone is gunning for you. And #2 is always in the shadow of #1. No, it's best to be #3 and have everyone talk about how underrated you are. Aspiring to be the best is so cliché.

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    You gotta love Saffold, the complete antithesis of the waste that was Alex Barron.
    TekeRam and C-Mob 71 like this.

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    This guy is a beast. What a steal he was in the second round. Between him and laurinaitis Devaney has earned my trust with 2nd round picks. Nothing to dislike about this guy, and everything to love.

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    It's great he's out there trying to improve his strength and conditioning. He'll have an opportunity to really take it to another level this year if there is a full training camp and complete regular season (which now appears likely). It's great he and Sam spent their rookie year together. If I recall correctly, Jason Smith who scored the big bucks at #2 overall the year before, was supposed to slide over to left tackle. Rodger however realized his opportunity, and from OTAs through training camp simply refused to be beaten out .. Great story! I hope he goes on to become a Ram legend right along with Sam Bradford .. Go get em kid !!!

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    That kind of hard work is catching to teammates. So much energy as well as technical ability, what a great looking draft pick by Devaney. This year should see a more aggressive player in the rungame, as the game should be slowing down a lot for him in the 2nd year, Bradford becoming more settled in the NFL will only help too.

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    Our next Orland Pace?

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    Re: “I want to be the best” — How Rodger Saffold plans on dominating at left tackle .

    Don't give me Orlando Pace, give me Orlando Pace +

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