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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Saffold Has Deep Football Roots In Cleveland

    Saffold has deep football roots in Cleveland

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    To say that Rodger Saffold grew up a Cleveland Browns fan would be putting it mildly.

    Saffold's grandfather took him to Browns games regularly as a youngster growing up in Bedford, Ohio, an eastern suburb of Cleveland.

    "I even had a bunch of Dawg Pound jerseys, helmets, all that stuff," Saffold said.

    But he never actually sat in the Dawg Pound, the rowdy bleacher section of fans in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

    "No, my grandfather didn't think it was safe enough for me being a kid," Saffold said. "Especially, since it was around that time where everybody was throwing beer bottles at the refs."

    Saffold's Browns roots go much deeper. Two of the greatest Browns ever, running back Jim Brown and offensive guard John Wooten, are longtime friends of the Saffold family.

    "Jim Brown as well as John Wooten, both used to babysit my father," Saffold said.

    As Saffold's father grew up, Brown and Wooten started talking to him about football. Saffold's father made it all the way to college football at the University of Iowa, and now Saffold has taken it one step farther.

    The Rams' second-round draft pick makes his second NFL preseason start at left tackle tonight when the Rams visit Cleveland. (Kickoff is 6:30 St. Louis time.)

    "It's exciting to go back home," Saffold said. "Haven't seen my family in a while."

    In particular, Saffold has stayed in contact with Wooten, a Pro Bowler in the 1960s and one of the greatest blockers in Browns history.

    "I owe a lot to him," Saffold said. "When I was in college, he would send me tapes. I would talk to him on the phone after every game, and I hope to get in contact with him soon. But with camp and everything, I haven't been able to talk to him."

    Wooten would send tapes of some of the NFL's top offensive linemen for Saffold to watch and study, players such as Will Shields and Jonathan Ogden.

    "Will Shields, a great technique-sound type of guy," Saffold said. "Ogden, it seemed like he would take two steps and somebody would be on the ground."

    This week, Saffold had a new kind of film to study — film of himself playing in the NFL against Minnesota, albeit in a preseason setting.

    "The thing about the offensive line, you can mess up one step and then the whole thing just falls to shambles," Saffold said. "Even though everybody did everything else right, it could turn the whole play into mayhem."

    Saffold said he critiqued himself hard while watching the film, something Rams teammates suggested he do.

    "It's all about the little things in this game," he said. "Some things that you can get away with in college you just will never get away with (in the NFL). Especially when people are older and veterans in the league."

    Among other things, Saffold said he wants to be "more aware" tonight against the Browns, to see more things on the field that can help his blocking. Saffold had some good moments and some bad moments last week against Minnesota while playing into the third quarter along with the rest of the starting offensive line.

    But overall, the play of the O-line left much to be desired against Minnesota. The word atrocious comes to mind. The Rams yielded six sacks and averaged just 2.5 yards a carry on the ground. So the No. 1 goal tonight is better blocking, plain and simple.

    "Now that we've got Jacob (Bell) back, we pretty much have everybody that's looked at to start," Saffold said. "I just want us to be better, more efficient."

    Bell starts tonight at left guard after missing the Minnesota game with an abdominal muscle injury. Since Bell plays next to Saffold, this marks their first game together.

    "What I want to do is I want to make sure I'm good with him in communicating," Saffold said.

    Communication is key when it comes to all the co-op blocking that takes place in pass protection. Knowing who to pick up, who to let slide (to another blocker), or having an awareness of when a teammate needs help are all keys to solid line play. Like anything else in football, that cohesion can best be gained in game situations.

    Nonetheless, one week of working together as a unit — the first time all five line starters have practiced together in camp — should help.

    "Any time that bodies are coming in and out of there, it's hard for those guys to jell," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "But now that they've had a week together, and got a feel for each other, I'm sure that they're a lot more comfortable with each other."

  2. #2
    mikhal5569's Avatar
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    Re: Saffold Has Deep Football Roots In Cleveland

    Saffold said he critiqued himself hard while watching the film, something Rams teammates suggested he do.

    The only linemen that would be appropiate coming from right now is Brown. The rest of the guys need to start taking their own advice.

  3. #3
    ramsanddodgers's Avatar
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    Re: Saffold Has Deep Football Roots In Cleveland

    It seems Saffold has something in common with the Rams then? Well, Cleveland roots but not Browns....

    GO RAMS!!

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