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  1. #1
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    Saffold Muscles Up ..

    Saffold Muscles Up


    By Nick Wagoner

    Considering that Rodger Saffold suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle during a routine bench press exercise in November of last year, it would be understandable if he had a bit of apprehension to get back under the barbell, load up the plates and get back to work.

    And, by his own admission, Saffold did have those fears upon being cleared to resume workouts. After all, the injury had brought his second season to an end with seven games to play and Saffold had missed an opportunity to get even more experience under his belt.

    Its been a road for me because it was hard to get back on the bench after getting injured like that and then get back in there and lift that kind of weight again, Saffold said. It was tough. But I was able to get through it.

    To say that Saffold has been able to get through it would be a bit of an understatement. Of the nearly 90 players on the Rams roster, there might not be one who has undergone a more impressive and serious physical transformation than Saffold during the teams offseason program.

    Saffold, who said he has usually played somewhere between 312 and 315 pounds, appears as though he has had no problems doing any weight work as hes bulked up to about 325 pounds.

    From the looks of it, that additional weight is all muscle and most of it appears to have settled in his upper body. He credits strength and conditioning coaches Rock Gullickson and Adam Bailey with his transformation.

    Oh, Im a lot bigger, Saffold said. Its thanks to those guys. Adam and Rock did a great job. Ive gained weight just lifting weights and eating right. Its helped me a lot to stay here and work with the same people who know about my injury. Im going to be ready to go for training camp.

    Saffold had to ease his way back into weight lifting but once he did, he said he has gotten more comfortable each week with being back in the weight room. Hes back to lifting large amounts of weights and challenging his teammates to get on his level.

    You are always going to feel that (apprehension), Saffold said. But now I have gotten so comfortable that I know that its OK so its been good. I have been making strides every week.

    While Saffold has been packing on muscle, hes also been slowly working his way back into the mix on the field as well. During the teams Organized Team Activities and minicamps, Saffold has participated exclusively in individual drills as he continues to recover from the pectoral injury.

    As a precaution, the Rams have brought Saffold along more slowly when it comes to working in team drills and lining up at his customary left tackle position. The competitive part of Saffold wants to be on the field with his teammates but he also understands that its more important for him to be at full speed when the pads come on for training camp.

    I feel fantastic, Saffold said. Most of whats going on nowadays is just precautionary, making sure I am good for camp. As important as these practices are, we are still not practicing for a full game so its better for me to just learn and wait and get prepared because they can help me get prepared in those OTAs in the walkthroughs and that. We are just trying to be low risk about it.

    So when the Rams transition to team drills, Saffold goes to the sideline and watches Quinn Ojinnaka take the repetitions in his place. In an effort to get acclimated to the new offense of coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Saffold takes mental repetitions and tries to run through the plays as though he is on the field.

    Although Saffold hasnt been able to play during team drills, he has done enough to impress coach Jeff Fisher with his work in the weight room and during individual drills.

    Not only in the weight room but in the individual stuff, hes doing really well, Fisher said. Were just holding back the contact. Hes very, very close to being cleared - definitely for camp. Hes very athletic, smart. Hes going to get the job done out there. Theres no doubt.

    Part of that faith in Saffold stems from the work hes doing with new offensive line coach Paul Boudreau.

    Known for his hard-edged but detailed approach to the game, Boudreau is one of the most respected line coaches in the league. He has caught Saffolds attention right away.

    I think hes a smart coach overall, Saffold said. Hes smart, he know what hes doing. His technique is very detailed; he wants to take care of every little angle, every move, every stance. He wants you to be in your most comfortable position so you can get the job done. So far its been great.

    Saffold has learned much from Boudreau already, including some important pointers about an area in which he struggled last season. On the heels of a strong rookie performance, he had high hopes for his second season but hadnt been able to repeat that performance even before he was injured.

    One area that seemed to plague Saffold was handling strong, powerful bull rushers that came right at him. Soon after meeting with Boudreau for the first time, Saffold said his new coach pointed out a flaw in his technique that needed fine tuning.

    The added weight will almost certainly help Saffold hold his ground against bigger pass rushers as well but Saffold points to a couple of different elements of the game as reasons for his extra bulk.

    Adding this strength is meant to just make me better overall so everything is a little bit easier when I am back on my game, Saffold said. The rehab, the one on ones Ive had with coach, its looking much better for all the technique stuff that I needed to correct.

    Of course, at 325 pounds, Saffold also more closely fits the mold of the types of offensive linemen Fisher has long preferred to have.

    Schottenheimers offense will take on the identity that Fisher always pushes in terms of playing stout at the line of scrimmage and pushing opponents around. With more muscle, Saffold should be able to do that on a more regular basis.

    Its just more physical, Saffold said. We are a physical team now. We concentrate on the passing game as well but the way we run, the way everything is set up, we are giving ourselves more opportunities to take more pressure off us in the passing game. We are becoming even more balanced which is going to help us so when we do have to get into those pass sets, they dont have a read on us and can get a beat on what we are trying to do.


  2. #2
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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    This is encouraging. I think one of the major concerns about Saffold was whether he was too much of a finesse player and might have proven overmatched physically last season. Hopefully, the added strength will help him play up to the potential we saw in him as a rookie.

  3. #3
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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    Added strength(which as Nick and fleece said, had been a possible weakness) and a line coach who is actually looking at his technique and fixing it? We may just be able to keep Sam upright after all!

    Obviously there will be a lot of fluff pieces over the summer, but this is one that I hope is 100% true and Saffold can get back to as good as he was in 2010 and help lead the team there as well.
    I believe!

  4. #4
    NJ Ramsfan1 is online now Registered User
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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    We've been down this road before with numerous players who get hurt, rehab, talk about how "next year will be different" then stink up the joint. Hopefully, it will be different with Rodger Saffold. He is a critical piece of the puzzle and we need him. Much has been vested in him. The article is encouraging and hopefully will be a harbinger of good things to come from Rodger.

  5. #5
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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    It's time to take off the dress and play some smash mouth football!

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    Added strength(which as Nick and fleece said, had been a possible weakness) and a line coach who is actually looking at his technique and fixing it? We may just be able to keep Sam upright after all!

    Obviously there will be a lot of fluff pieces over the summer, but this is one that I hope is 100% true and Saffold can get back to as good as he was in 2010 and help lead the team there as well.
    There probably is a lot of truth in the technique part. Jeff, Les, Schotty, and Boudreau decided early on to retain Saffold and Jason Smith. Fisher isn't stupid - if one of the main reasons he chose the Rams over other suitors was Sam Bradford, it isn't likely he'd pencil in Saffold if he didn't believe Rodger was capable of protecting Sam's blindside.

    It is tough for us Ram fans to "believe" after the last couple of years - we are all a bit gunshy when we hear how great a player looks early on in OTAs and minicamps only to find out otherwise when the regular season begins.

    Jim Hanifan made some very interesting comments regarding our new coaching staff on 101 Sports Radio the other day. If anyone is interested, you can listen to it here ..

    101ESPN.com: Audio Player -

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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    Since strength was one of Saffold's potential shortcomings, I am glad to see him beefing up...

    HOWEVER, I have seen countless reports from every sport about an athlete that has bulked up, and is bigger, faster, and concludes that they will have a great season because of it, only to watch that athlete fail.

    Which is why I am happy he is working on technique, and not just getting bigger and faster and making the same mistakes at a faster pace.

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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    Only time will tell.

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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    As a precaution, the Rams have brought Saffold along more slowly when it comes to working in team drills and lining up at his customary left tackle position. The competitive part of Saffold wants to be on the field with his teammates but he also understands that its more important for him to be at full speed when the pads come on for training camp.

    Im glad they working him in slowly. I think he will be more like his rookie seanson.
    :ramlogo:

  10. #10
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    Re: Saffold Muscles Up ..

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    Jeff, Les, Schotty, and Boudreau decided early on to retain Saffold and Jason Smith. Fisher isn't stupid - if one of the main reasons he chose the Rams over other suitors was Sam Bradford, it isn't likely he'd pencil in Saffold if he didn't believe Rodger was capable of protecting Sam's blindside.
    Very true. And according to the Michael Silver article from within the Rams' war room on draft day, they weren't even interested in Kalil, which suggests they felt like they could work with what they had. Hopefully they end up being right.
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