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  • Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold

    Move to guard changed much for Saffold

    March, 14, 2014
    By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com

    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- For all of the bizarre things that took place in the past week to get offensive lineman Rodger Saffold back as a member of the St. Louis Rams and addressing the local media in a news conference Friday afternoon, the one move that really started it all happened Nov. 10.

    That was the day Saffold made his debut as a right guard against the Indianapolis Colts. It's hard to know for certain given the vagaries of the NFL but if that day had never happened, there's a strong possibility that Saffold wouldn't be a Ram nor would they have made much effort to keep him.

    To that point, the 2013 season had been relatively tumultuous for Saffold. Given Saffold's injury issues in 2012, the team signed Jake Long to play left tackle and asked Saffold to move to the right side. It was a move he didn't love but never publicly complained about. Then, after early-season injury issues again popped up, Saffold found himself sharing the right tackle spot with Joe Barksdale upon his return from a Week 2 knee injury.

    The previous three weeks before the game against Indianapolis, Saffold split reps with Barksdale. But the Rams wanted to get their five best offensive linemen on the field and with Barksdale and Saffold alternating at right tackle, they took one of those five off the field for chunks of the game. Long before that, there had been whispers that Saffold might be a better fit inside but it had never been tried because the Rams didn't have many options at tackle.

    So it was that Saffold, in looking for a chance to be on the field consistently, and the Rams, looking to put their best line together, hatched the plan to put Saffold at right guard. Rams coach Jeff Fisher recalled the pivotal decision spurred by offensive line coach Paul Boudreau on Friday afternoon.

    "Well, the conversation was initiated by Coach 'Bou'," Fisher said. " It’s hard to find a better one in the league than ‘Bou.' He just felt like with his understanding and his knowledge, the fact that he would line up next to Scott [Wells], and Scott could be of assistance to him and athletic ability -- it was an easy decision."

    Saffold worked at guard all week leading up to the Colts game, an experience that was foreign to him. But nearly from the moment he jumped into the lineup at guard, it looked like a natural fit.

    The pass protection part became easier as Saffold was no longer forced to cover so much ground against speedier rushers on the edge. He held up fine in that regard, but it was his ability as a run blocker that opened more than a few eyes to his potential inside.

    Saffold's athleticism and size allowed him to become the prototype pulling guard as the Rams often got him on the move and allowed him to open holes for running back Zac Stacy. His second start, against Chicago, was the better highlight reel as he regularly was noticeable down the field creating space for the Rams to rush for 258 yards in a win.

    Unfortunately for the Rams, Saffold's sample size at guard wasn't as large as they would have liked as injuries to others, especially Long, forced him to move outside. Make no mistake, that versatility also helped Saffold's value but it was the glimpse of potential that elevated Saffold from a "might keep" to a "must keep."

    Saffold's production inside didn't just change the Rams' view of his future but also made a difference for Saffold himself. When he first made the move, Saffold discussed it with me and another reporter. He didn't have any trepidation about the move but it was clear he was a bit unsure of himself.

    After tasting success at guard, Saffold said he regularly spent extra time critiquing his technique and working to refine the details of his new position.

    "Once things started going good, I was happy but I was also very, very hungry and very, very strict on myself," Saffold said.

    Saffold's work was enough to draw the attention of other teams as he headed to free agency and make him the Rams' top priority. Oakland and Tampa Bay put on the full-court press and both were at least open to the idea of Saffold playing guard though Saffold indicated Friday he would have played left tackle for the Raiders.

    Looking back on his first opportunity to play guard, even Saffold himself is taken aback by the domino effect the move created.

    "Now that everything else has happened, it was pretty much a surprise for me as well," Saffold said. "I know that Coach Boudreau definitely had a lot of confidence in me, as well as Coach Fisher about playing the guard position, and I didn’t realize it until I actually started doing it."

    Now that he has, there's no turning back.

    "He made the switch last year, a difficult switch," Fisher said. "He was very, very productive inside. Our plan is to play him at guard as we continue to fill the pieces around him."

    It's a notion that a year ago seemed far-fetched. As of Friday afternoon, it's Saffold's new

  • #2
    Re: Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold

    I want him to play guard, but no where in there does he say he is happy doing it.
    This space for rent...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold

      Originally posted by thoey View Post
      I want him to play guard, but no where in there does he say he is happy doing it.
      Oh yes he did ..

      Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
      Move to guard changed much for Saffold

      EARTH CITY, Mo. -- For all of the bizarre things that took place in the past week to get offensive lineman Rodger Saffold back as a member of the St. Louis Rams and addressing the local media in a news conference Friday afternoon, the one move that really started it all happened Nov. 10.

      That was the day Saffold made his debut as a right guard against the Indianapolis Colts. It's hard to know for certain given the vagaries of the NFL but if that day had never happened, there's a strong possibility that Saffold wouldn't be a Ram nor would they have made much effort to keep him.

      To that point, the 2013 season had been relatively tumultuous for Saffold. Given Saffold's injury issues in 2012, the team signed Jake Long to play left tackle and asked Saffold to move to the right side. It was a move he didn't love but never publicly complained about. Then, after early-season injury issues again popped up, Saffold found himself sharing the right tackle spot with Joe Barksdale upon his return from a Week 2 knee injury.

      The previous three weeks before the game against Indianapolis, Saffold split reps with Barksdale. But the Rams wanted to get their five best offensive linemen on the field and with Barksdale and Saffold alternating at right tackle, they took one of those five off the field for chunks of the game. Long before that, there had been whispers that Saffold might be a better fit inside but it had never been tried because the Rams didn't have many options at tackle.

      So it was that Saffold, in looking for a chance to be on the field consistently, and the Rams, looking to put their best line together, hatched the plan to put Saffold at right guard. Rams coach Jeff Fisher recalled the pivotal decision spurred by offensive line coach Paul Boudreau on Friday afternoon.

      "Well, the conversation was initiated by Coach 'Bou'," Fisher said. " It’s hard to find a better one in the league than ‘Bou.' He just felt like with his understanding and his knowledge, the fact that he would line up next to Scott [Wells], and Scott could be of assistance to him and athletic ability -- it was an easy decision."

      Saffold worked at guard all week leading up to the Colts game, an experience that was foreign to him. But nearly from the moment he jumped into the lineup at guard, it looked like a natural fit.

      The pass protection part became easier as Saffold was no longer forced to cover so much ground against speedier rushers on the edge. He held up fine in that regard, but it was his ability as a run blocker that opened more than a few eyes to his potential inside.

      Saffold's athleticism and size allowed him to become the prototype pulling guard as the Rams often got him on the move and allowed him to open holes for running back Zac Stacy. His second start, against Chicago, was the better highlight reel as he regularly was noticeable down the field creating space for the Rams to rush for 258 yards in a win.

      Unfortunately for the Rams, Saffold's sample size at guard wasn't as large as they would have liked as injuries to others, especially Long, forced him to move outside. Make no mistake, that versatility also helped Saffold's value but it was the glimpse of potential that elevated Saffold from a "might keep" to a "must keep."

      Saffold's production inside didn't just change the Rams' view of his future but also made a difference for Saffold himself. When he first made the move, Saffold discussed it with me and another reporter. He didn't have any trepidation about the move but it was clear he was a bit unsure of himself.

      After tasting success at guard, Saffold said he regularly spent extra time critiquing his technique and working to refine the details of his new position.

      "Once things started going good, I was happy but I was also very, very hungry and very, very strict on myself," Saffold said.


      Saffold's work was enough to draw the attention of other teams as he headed to free agency and make him the Rams' top priority. Oakland and Tampa Bay put on the full-court press and both were at least open to the idea of Saffold playing guard though Saffold indicated Friday he would have played left tackle for the Raiders.

      Looking back on his first opportunity to play guard, even Saffold himself is taken aback by the domino effect the move created.

      "Now that everything else has happened, it was pretty much a surprise for me as well," Saffold said. "I know that Coach Boudreau definitely had a lot of confidence in me, as well as Coach Fisher about playing the guard position, and I didn’t realize it until I actually started doing it."

      Now that he has, there's no turning back.

      "He made the switch last year, a difficult switch," Fisher said. "He was very, very productive inside. Our plan is to play him at guard as we continue to fill the pieces around him."

      It's a notion that a year ago seemed far-fetched. As of Friday afternoon, it's Saffold's new reality.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold

        I'll bet Saffold is happy to be with a team that will welcome him with open arms. A team he knew was going to line him up as a guard.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold

          Happy Saffold, happy me. But there's still quite a bit of work to do. Let's move on and get down to business.

          First order of business: Rams OL. ;)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold

            Originally posted by MauiRam View Post
            Oh yes he did ..
            Sorry, I typed that too fast. Must be the old age... ;)
            This space for rent...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold

              I think Saffold obviously saw it as a demotion at first, which is fair. Going from LT to any other part of the line is basically a demotion. Who wouldn't be a little hesitant about it?

              However, once he realized the immense potential he had at guard, I think he got over it.

              We've seen how great he is at guard. He's is a pro-bowler caliber blocker when healthy. The only problem is he is a Rams offensive lineman, so being healthy is sort of unusual for him.

              Comment

              Related Topics

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              • 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
                Rams OT Rodger Saffold pushing to play
                by Rambos
                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...
                -08-23-2013, 09:31 AM
              • Rambos
                Rodger Saffold
                by Rambos
                Rodger Saffold - T - Rams

                The National Football Post's Dan Pompei reports the Rams are not interested in trading RT Rodger Saffold.
                Saffold, a 35-game starter at left tackle, was initially a bit disgruntled over the team's decision to move him to right tackle after the signing of LT Jake Long. Things have reportedly "calmed down," and that showed with Saffold's decision to show up to voluntary workouts last week. Pompei adds that the "expectation" is Saffold will be a Ram for a "long time."
                -04-21-2013, 07:54 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
              • MauiRam
                After crazy few days, Saffold welcomed back by Rams ..
                by MauiRam
                By Joe Strauss


                He was leaving for the money and Rodger Saffold made no apologies for it.

                Actually, Saffold wasn’t leaving as a free agent. He was gone. The dysfunctional Oakland Raiders offered him $42.5 million over five years because the only way the Raiders get players nowadays is to draft them, overpay them or scrape them off the street.

                Saffold was leaving the Rams for the money. Or, as he further explained Friday morning, doing it for his family, especially his young daughter.

                Saffold was in East Bay last Tuesday. He had discussed his decision with friends, including several former teammates, and had said goodbye to the Rams. Set to formalize the deal, Saffold was told to go into a room to take a call from his agent, Alan Herman, who informed Saffold he had flunked the Raiders’ physical due to concerns about a left shoulder that lifted 400 pounds 10 days earlier.

                Before speaking to his agent, Saffold thought he was guaranteed $21 million. Afterward, he had nothing.

                An organization reveals itself in different ways. If professional sports are cold, the National Football League carries a reputation as downright arctic. Players are commodities who rarely see the end of partially-guaranteed contracts. The Raiders emerged from last week wearing another level of stink.

                Rejected, the Rams could have wiped their hands of him, chuckled and classified Saffold’s misfortune as his comeuppance.

                Saffold described his decision to leave St. Louis as “business.” The Rams could have used his description to take its money elsewhere.

                Blast the Rams for their slow drift within this month’s free-agent market. They’ve yet to address a vulnerable secondary and a receiving corps that appeared to plateau last season. They appear wedded to developing players selected in the last two drafts. If they move for a free agent, they could add bad actor wideout Kenny Britt.

                But in Saffold’s case the organization showed something else.

                As Saffold twisted in limbo, Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff repeatedly assured Herman he would personally vouch for Saffold’s medicals. Demoff was even willing to speak directly to the Raiders on his ex-player’s behalf. (Such a conversation never took place.)

                It’s unclear if the Raiders harbored real concerns about Saffold’s shoulder or merely experienced buyer’s remorse over a deal widely lampooned within the league.

                Saffold’s reaction, however, was obvious: Return home. Return to St. Louis.

                “It was a slightly embarrassing feeling because I just didn’t want the Rams to feel a certain way,” Saffold explained at Rams Park Friday, adding that he would have had no issue accepting the Rams’ standing offer if not for the Raiders’ outrageous bid. (No, Saffold didn’t use the word “outrageous.”)

                “Like I said, this...
                -03-16-2014, 01:04 AM
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