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  • Rams OT Rodger Saffold pushing to play

    By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com


    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In need of repetition and opportunity to play his new position in a real game, Rams offensive tackle Rodger Saffold has spent part of his week lobbying to return to the lineup Saturday night in Denver.

    Saffold suffered a dislocated left shoulder two plays into the preseason opener in Cleveland, a game which doubled as his debut at right tackle after spending his first three seasons on the left side. He returned to practice on a limited basis this week but he's well aware that any playing time between now and the start of the regular season is essential in getting fully adjusted to his new position.

    "Those reps are seriously important," Saffold said. "That's why I hope they lean toward putting me in for a little bit and then after that I can go from there. But I think the way we are taking it is a smart way. It feels completely stable now. I'm ready to go out and play again."

    Saffold's status for Saturday night remains to be seen despite his pleas to play. Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesdsay that Saffold was "much better" and there were "expectations that he would play." What Fisher didn't say was how soon Saffold's return would occur.

    In practice this week, Saffold slowly eased back into the mix. He didn't participate Monday and then did some light individual work Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday, he started to work his way back into team drills though he'd still be considered limited if regular-season designations were being used.

    Wearing a brace on his shoulder underneath the pads, Saffold said he feels like the shoulder is stable and he can do normal things like reach and punch without pain. That's a step in the positive direction after an injury that initially looked like it could keep him out much longer.

    Entering his fourth season, Saffold has consistently battled the injury bug. He missed six games in 2012 with a knee injury and seven contests in 2011 because of concussion, ankle and pectoral ailments. The shoulder injury set off a wave of concern for an offensive line with plenty of veteran talent but also a recent history of injury issues.

    Saffold's injury happened on a simple pass protection against the Browns on Aug. 8. Cleveland pass-rusher Paul Kruger attempted to bend the right edge against Saffold. Kruger tried to slap Saffold's arms away as Saffold pushed through the arm slap, but as he attempted to work Kruger's arm to push him away he flipped over and crashed to the ground. He instantly knew the shoulder had popped out backward.

    Asked if his adjustment to the right side might have led to the injury as he still tries to refine his fundamentals, Saffold acknowledged the possibility.

    "When you're in a game, the adrenaline is rushing," Saffold said. "So you've got to be more patient sometimes than you are on the practice field. That's something you need to get a hold of so I don't end up putting myself in bad positions, leaning and stuff like that."

    Joe Barksdale replaced Saffold against Green Bay and fared well in his stead. If Saffold can't play against the Broncos, Barksdale figures to get the call again. The ultimate decision will come down to Fisher and head athletic trainer Reggie Scott, regardless of Saffold's request.

    "I always feel like I'm ready to go," Saffold said. "We've got to think about this smart, but I'm really confident. I think me telling them how confident I feel, they could give me a chance to go."

  • #2
    Re: Rams OT Rodger Saffold pushing to play

    Saffold has no luck at all as far as the injury bug is concerned. Gotta love his heart though!!!

    Put me in coach!!!
    sigpic :ram::helmet:

    Comment

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    • Rambos
      Saffold Working His Way Back
      by Rambos
      Nick Wagoner

      When Rodger Saffold crumpled to the ground, writhing in pain from a knee injury back in week 2 against Washington, he couldn’t help but wonder what it meant for his season and, big picture, his career.

      A year after having his second NFL season cut short by a torn pectoral injury in a weightlifting incident, Saffold wondered if he’d once again have to watch the bulk of the season from the sideline.

      “It just lets you know about the game,” Saffold said. “I had a long time to think. I didn’t know what was going on in my knee; it hurt so bad that I didn’t know if I’d be back this year. Right now it’s just been a bunch of blessings and getting a lot of help from (head athletic trainer) Reggie (Scott) and a lot of advice from the guys that has helped me get through it.”

      Nearly seven weeks from suffering that knee injury against the Redskins, Saffold appears to be on the verge of a return. In Wednesday’s practice, Saffold participated on a limited basis, working mostly in individual drills.

      On Thursday, Saffold followed a similar regiment as he continues to strengthen his left knee and work his way back.

      “They really don’t want me to go out there and just put everything on the table, especially during this week,” Saffold said. “So thankfully I am going to go out there and hopefully do a little bit more but if they decide to keep me continuing to do the same amount of reps I have been doing now, I just have to deal with that until next week.”

      The Rams have a bye week this week which should allow Saffold to continue to get healthier heading into next week’s preparation for the game against San Francisco. It remains to be seen if he’ll be back at full strength in time for that contest though that would ideally be the plan to plug him back in at left tackle for the *****.

      By his own admission, Saffold is not yet feeling close to 100 percent though he seems to be getting a bit closer with each passing day. In the meantime, he has not missed a single team-related event whether it’s a meeting or a trip to London.

      “No, not yet,” Saffold said. “Right now we have the bye week so this is a good time for me to continue to get up and do what I’ve got to do. From being in meetings and all those types of things, it’s been good for me; I am just staying in the game mentally. Every win and loss I have been with this team.”

      That Saffold’s knee injury happened in the first place was the result of a freakish incident not unlike the bench pressing one that befell him in 2011.

      In the first quarter of that Sept. 16 meeting with the Redskins, Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo broke through for a sack on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. In the process, Orakpo jarred the ball loose and Saffold scooped it up at Washington’s 28.

      Instead of falling on it, Saffold attempted to save his team some...
      -11-02-2012, 07:39 AM
    • MauiRam
      Rams’ Saffold is on the comeback trail ..
      by MauiRam
      • By Jim Thomas

      A return to action Saturday in Denver seems highly unlikely, but Rams right tackle Rodger Saffold is working his way back into the practice routine after suffering a dislocated left shoulder Aug. 9 in Cleveland.

      “Day by day,” Saffold said. “I have to kind of work my way into individual (drills), and then start to work my way into the team (11-on-11) and then go all out.

      “I’m glad I got to get some punching in. I feel good about it.”

      Saffold was referring there to the slight amount of individual work he did in practice Tuesday, a day when his workload was limited in part because the practice was heavy on “team” work.

      “That’s just the way it is sometimes,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get to do a little bit more (today), and then just see where I go from there.”

      Saffold is eager to play in an exhibition game, but as always, defers to head athletic trainer Reggie Scott and the Rams’ medical staff.

      “But if I get close before Denver, then I would love to play,” Saffold said. “Because I need reps against other people so I can get prepared for the first game.”

      More likely is a return Aug. 29 in the exhibition finale, against Baltimore. Worst-case scenario, just a few practices against left defensive ends Chris Long and William Hayes should do the trick prior to the regular-season opener, on Sept. 8 against Arizona.

      “I think if I have any kind of rust, it will probably come off during practice,” Saffold said. “Because honestly, going against Chris Long and William Hayes, those guys aren’t easy defensive guys by a long shot. So if anybody’s gonna get me prepared, they will.”

      Saffold isn’t sure if the injury occurred while punching out at a defender, or in bracing himself with the left hand while falling to the turf at FirstEnergy Stadium. But he thinks it might have been a little of both.

      “It happened so fast,” he said. “When you look at it (on tape), I flip over so fast and it’s hard to tell when exactly it happened. All I know is that it was out.

      “I kind of just sat there like, ‘OK, it’s out. Should I wait here for them to put it back in? Or should I put it in myself?’ ”

      He decided to leave it to the medical/training staff, which popped the shoulder back in right there in the middle of the field. Saffold, who is from Cleveland, had plenty of family members and friends in the stands that night, including his mom and dad. They obviously were concerned.

      Now it’s a matter of making sure the shoulder is stable, and regaining strength in the muscles around it. Coming back too soon, or failing to build up the surrounding muscles, could result in the shoulder popping out of place again.

      “So it’s just about strength and time, and letting it scar up a little bit,” Saffold said. “It’s kind of like, let’s fix it. Let’s make sure it’s...
      -08-21-2013, 01:07 AM
    • MauiRam
      Saffold Muscles Up ..
      by MauiRam
      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.

      “It’s 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 team’s 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 he’s 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, I’m a lot bigger,” Saffold said. “It’s thanks to those guys. Adam and Rock did a great job. I’ve gained weight just lifting weights and eating right. It’s helped me a lot to stay here and work with the same people who know about my injury. I’m 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. He’s 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 it’s OK so it’s been good. I have been making strides every week.”

      While Saffold has been packing on muscle, he’s also been slowly working his way back into the mix on the field as well. During the team’s 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 it’s more important for him to be at full speed...
      -06-14-2012, 10:39 PM
    • Rambos
      Saffold Settling in on Right Side
      by Rambos
      Nick Wagoner

      Rodger Saffold hadn’t played any position but left tackle since his freshman year as a member of the Bedford High football team just outside of Cleveland.

      As a ninth grader playing for the Bearcats, Saffold was a right tackle. Since, he’s played in dozens of games, exclusively on the left side.

      But now, after the Rams’ high-profile signing of four-time Pro Bowler Jake Long to play left tackle, Saffold is re-learning a position long since forgotten.

      Like anything, there will be some growing pains for Saffold in making the switch but he said it hasn’t been as difficult as he might have estimated originally.

      “Just with changing stances, it’s difficult because what you are used to doing, you have got to get that muscle memory and change everything up,” Saffold said. “Honestly, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it was going to be.”

      In some sense, the main part of the transition is simply teaching the body to do the same things he’s been doing for years on the left side on the other hand. The mechanics and footwork will almost certainly take some time to learn but the details will take a bit longer.

      Although Saffold has been working during on-field drills on his footwork and learning the right side for about a month now, this week has offered his first chance to participate in any sort of actual drills against competition.

      The Rams held their first Organized Team Activity on Tuesday and went through No. 2 on Thursday. While the sample size has been small, Rams coach Jeff Fisher has been pleased with what he’s seen from Saffold in making the move.

      “Football is football,” Fisher said. “The responsibilities are the same. It’s just at the point of attack when the ball goes to the right. Typically, the right tackle may have a tight end outside of him more often than the left tackle does. With a right handed quarterback you are typically right handed. But he’s done a great job since we moved him over.”

      Saffold has left no stone unturned in getting familiar with his new position. He’s spent time with defensive end Chris Long, who has helped him get acquainted with some of the pass rushing techniques and looks that he can expect to see while playing right tackle.

      In addition, Saffold has made a habit of staying after practice to get more footwork drills in and get some additional guidance from offensive line coach Paul Boudreau.

      So far, Saffold has noticed some differences on the right side but doesn’t believe any of them will make or break his transition.
      “There are a few things that are different,” Saffold said. “When you switch up, sometimes your depth perception of the defensive end is different. It’s hard to feel whether they really got your edge or you overset to let somebody inside. It’s repetition and with a good amount of reps that is all going to change.”...
      -05-23-2013, 03:07 PM
    • Rambos
      Saffold's health
      by Rambos
      By Nick Wagoner

      Saffold's health: Right guard Rodger Saffold suffered a knee injury late in the game and did not return, leaving many to wonder if the oft-injured Saffold would miss extended time again. But Fisher said Saffold could have came back into the game on the final drive, and Saffold told reporters that he'll be ready to go next week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
      -10-19-2014, 04:28 PM
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