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Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

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  • Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

    By Jim Thomas

    The big fella is back in uniform and all about the business of getting ready for the season opener Sept. 13 against Seattle.
    One of the strongest players on the team, and easily the most experienced starter on the offensive line, Rodger Saffold immediately makes the Rams a better blocking team.

    “Rodger’s back on the field a little bit, doing some stuff,” coach Jeff Fisher said after Tuesday’s practice. “He’ll be questionable for Thursday, but obviously, definitely, he’s in a really good position for the opener.”

    The Rams close out the preseason Thursday at the Edward Jones Dome with the almost annual Governor’s Cup game against Kansas City. Then it’s on to the real deal — Seattle and opening day.

    Saffold left no doubt about his availability for that one.

    “Absolutely,” he replied.

    In fact, he even provided a position.

    “I’m gonna go ahead and play right guard,” Saffold said. “The coaches really felt the way that things have been going we would be firmer (in that alignment).”

    Suddenly, four-fifths of the Rams’ starting offensive line looks set for Seattle, with Greg Robinson (left) and rookie Rob Havenstein (right) at tackle, and rookie Jamon Brown (left) and Saffold (right) at guard. As for center? TBD.

    Brown has missed both practices this week with an ankle injury but is expected to be fine for Seattle. As for Saffold, it seems like forever since he last played, but in truth it’s been less than three weeks. He went out on the Rams’ fourth offensive play of the Aug. 14 preseason opener in Oakland.

    “It was just an awkward hit,” Saffold said. “I was definitely ready to (return) sooner than (the coaches) wanted. But I understand for the sake of the season, and for the sake of some of these guys to get some experience playing ball, I needed to wait.”

    Saffold underwent surgery on his left shoulder immediately following the 2014 season; the injury in Oakland was a tweak of his right shoulder.

    Saffold has enough experience that it shouldn’t be a problem being mentally ready and technique ready for Seattle. They’re a familiar opponent.

    “He’s played a lot of games,” Fisher said. “He’s played the Seahawks. He understands, so I’m not concerned about that. The one thing that he’s doing is he’s getting the walk-through reps, so the communication is very sound up front with the young guys.”

    Because of past injuries, Saffold also is used to playing with a brace or wrap around his shoulder, and used to getting ready to play in a short period of time. Even so, there is that little matter of getting into “football shape” — the banging and bumping that come with the sport.

    “The basic fundamentals I totally understand,” Saffold said. “But getting ready for football shape, even though I’ve been doing all my things conditioning-wise, it’s still different. So you can expect to see me out here doing things before and after practice trying to get ready. And basically doing all the stretching.”

    When Saffold initially made the switch to guard from tackle midway through the 2013 season he played right guard. He started five games there that season and was particularly devastating in his debut game against Indianapolis, consistently moving the line of scrimmage and delivering punishing blocks on the move as a pulling guard.

    Because of injuries elsewhere, he started one game at left tackle and one game at right tackle over the second half of that season. Last season, he began at left guard and started 13 games there, largely because free-agent pickup Davin Joseph had only played right guard over the course of his career.

    Starting all 16 games for only the second time in his five-year NFL career, Saffold started the other three contests at right guard.

    Rams coaches “have seen me play right guard before in years past,” Saffold said. “So they have confidence in me in being able to switch. And they think it would be more natural for (Brown) to play left.

    “When those types of things get asked of you, I mean, what am I here for? I’m here to be that versatile guy. So you’ll probably see me playing a bunch of different positions all year. But that means nothing to me. My goal is still the same.”

    Actually, the Rams would like nothing better than for the Saffold to settle in at right guard and stay there, with the other four line starters staying healthy and stable. But it usually doesn’t happen that way, especially when it comes to the Rams in recent years.

    “I’m pretty much comfortable anywhere at this point,” Saffold said. “The only ‘people’ that are mad at me are my hips. When you switch positions, those hips get super tight. But other than that, everything’s good.”

    Although he’s only 27, Saffold is like Father Time on the Rams’ offensive line with 60 NFL starts. The other probable opening day starters will have no more than 16 combined starts. That means he must be a leader on the line, helping all the youngsters along, especially his partner on the right side — Havenstein.

    “A lot of times, the offensive line is about feel,” Saffold said. “So you have to be able to feel certain things. I can feel twists pretty well. Sometimes I can tell, based off of safety rotation, what types of blitzes we’re gonna have.”

    Saffold has always been comfortable in his own skin and confident in his abilities. So when asked Tuesday why fans should believe in the offense, he didn’t blink.

    “Cause I’ll be back soon,” Saffold replied. “You know what I’m saying? I’m gonna get in there and I’m gonna help this team.”

    The starting quarterback, for one, can’t wait.

    “The guy has been in the NFL,” Nick Foles said. “He’s played at an extremely high level and he’s got a lot of wisdom. He’s a very talented player. So to get him healthy, that helps us out a lot. And then it just gives us more depth with the other guys."

  • #2
    Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

    Good. Two rookies on the right side was a backup QB waiting to happen.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

      I'm a total amateur who knows virtually nothing about offensive line coaching/technique/approach.

      Now, with that said..

      I don't question the move, I just wonder about the timing this late in camp. Are LG and RG so similar that all his coaching trying to get him up to speed as a rookie will 100% translate to the left side without any hiccups?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

        Originally posted by AtlantaRamFan View Post
        I'm a total amateur who knows virtually nothing about offensive line coaching/technique/approach.

        Now, with that said..

        I don't question the move, I just wonder about the timing this late in camp. Are LG and RG so similar that all his coaching trying to get him up to speed as a rookie will 100% translate to the left side without any hiccups?

        I'm no master in the arts of OL, but I believe most is the same (ie. reads, assignments, etc.).

        I believe most of the difference comes from the body positioning aspect. Plant leg is different and your push on run plays is at a different angle. Actually, push on pass pro is different too, because you're directing the defender to the outside in an effort to create a pocket. Physically, it puts a different demand on the lateral muscles and overall balance. I believe that's what Saffold is referring to when he says his "hips" are mad at him.

        There may be much more to it, but if so, i'm unaware of it. perhaps a football clinician can jump in and correct me if I'm wrong
        Last edited by KoaKoi; -09-02-2015, 10:15 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

          We OBVIOUSLY need this guy and if he can stay healthy it will be much less painful for the QB. Here's to seeing Rodger dominate week in and week out......

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

            Certainly good news. I like that he's on the right side so he'll be able to help RH.

            Go Rams!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

              When I saw "Saffold" & "Back" in the thread title, I figured he was hurt again.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT

                Originally posted by ramsbruce View Post
                When I saw "Saffold" & "Back" in the thread title, I figured he was hurt again.
                I had the same reaction, and was afraid to read the thread.


                gap
                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Saffold's back, and at right guard/PD/JT


                  "Rodger’s back on the field a little bit, doing some stuff," coach Jeff Fisher said after Tuesday’s practice. "He’ll be questionable for Thursday, but obviously, definitely, he’s in a really good position for the opener."
                  Well, shouldn't it be determined that our warrior friend Saffold sit this last exhibition game out and prepare for the regular season opener? Or, have we just gotten too paranoid about his tendencies -- real or imaginary -- towards serious injury that we've turned him into a "good-but-fragile" OL?


                  All the best to you RS. We need your leadership. '...STRENGTH and HONOR'.


                  Comment

                  Related Topics

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                  • Rambos
                    Saffold Settling in on Right Side
                    by Rambos
                    Nick Wagoner

                    Rodger Saffold hadnít 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, heís played in dozens of games, exclusively on the left side.

                    But now, after the Ramsí 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 hasnít been as difficult as he might have estimated originally.

                    ďJust with changing stances, itís difficult because what you are used to doing, you have got to get that muscle memory and change everything up,Ē Saffold said. ďHonestly, it hasnít been as hard as I thought it was going to be.Ē

                    In some sense, the main part of the transition is simply teaching the body to do the same things heís 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 heís seen from Saffold in making the move.

                    ďFootball is football,Ē Fisher said. ďThe responsibilities are the same. Itís 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 heís done a great job since we moved him over.Ē

                    Saffold has left no stone unturned in getting familiar with his new position. Heís 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 doesnít believe any of them will make or break his transition.
                    ďThere are a few things that are different,Ē Saffold said. ďWhen you switch up, sometimes your depth perception of the defensive end is different. Itís hard to feel whether they really got your edge or you overset to let somebody inside. Itís repetition and with a good amount of reps that is all going to change.Ē...
                    -05-23-2013, 03:07 PM
                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Move To Guard Changed Much For Saffold
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    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. " Itís hard to find a better one in the league than ĎBou.' 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...
                    -03-15-2014, 01:52 PM
                  • MauiRam
                    Rams' Saffold finds peace in switch to right tackle
                    by MauiRam
                    Ben Frederickson

                    ST. LOUIS -- Rodger Saffold wasn't pleased.

                    The position was a part of his identity. In the 47 games the St. Louis Rams had played since 2010, he had started there 35 times. Only injuries had kept No. 76 from his place. He was the Rams' left tackle, a title synonymous with big money and respect. He was the protector of star quarterback Sam Bradford's blind side.

                    Until suddenly, without a chance to fight for it, the job was no longer his.

                    "I think it was more of a shock than anything," St. Louis Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau said. "He had some moments, as we will say in our room."

                    When the Rams signed former Miami Dolphins left tackle Jake Long to a four-year, $34 million contract in late March, the team described the acquisition of the elite lineman as a no-brainer. Long was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, a 6-foot-7, 319-pound mountain of a man who had made four Pro Bowls in five years. The team celebrated while Saffold wrestled with the request he knew would come next.

                    His agent had made it clear Saffold was not interested switching positions when the Rams started courting Long. Some wondered if Saffold, entering the last year of his rookie contract with the team, would skip voluntary organized team activities as a sign of protest.

                    "I hadn't played right tackle since ninth grade," Saffold explained, after the dust finally settled.

                    Boudreau understood Saffold's initial reaction, the 'moments' he would rather leave in the past. He figured his upset tackle would come around, and he was right.

                    "Rodger is not that kind of kid," Boudreau said. "He wants to win. He wants to be part of the winning tradition we are going to start here. So, heís going to make it work.Ē

                    So here was Saffold this offseason, relearning a position his 25-year-old body had not played in a decade. He says he is on board now, and his coaches have praised his selflessness for embracing the switch. His continued willingness to adapt will be influential for the Rams' 2013 season, as well as the rest of Saffold's career.


                    Boudreau uses a baseball metaphor.

                    Imagine a Major Leaguer changing his swing from left to right. The instincts that make the hitter a pro, his ability to track pitches and send the ball a certain way, are still there. It's the awkwardness of the unfamiliar swing that makes it hard.

                    Or, here's one anyone can try.

                    "If you're right-handed, start writing left-handed," Boudreau said.

                    Boudreau has coached NFL offensive linemen since 1987. He knew Saffold, unlike some left tackles, could make the switch to the right side. He cited the 6-foot-5, 314-pound player's all-around athleticism, hip flexibility, use of leverage and proficiency at run blocking as evidence....
                    -07-12-2013, 11:56 PM
                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Wagoner: With Rodger Saffold Out, Rams Reshuffle Offensive Line...Again
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    With Rodger Saffold out, Rams reshuffle offensive line ... again

                    Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer

                    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- When St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher announced last week that right guard Rodger Saffold would miss the rest of the season because of a pending shoulder surgery, it was clear the offensive line would have to make a change.

                    And there was no doubt that veteran Garrett Reynolds would step into a spot on the line, it was just a matter of where. Apparently, the answer to that question is left guard, not the right side spot vacated by Saffold. That means a likely shift back to the right side for rookie Jamon Brown.

                    Brown, a third-round pick out of Louisville, is no stranger to either spot after spending the offseason and most of the preseason at right guard before flipping to the left side for the first five games of the season.

                    "Itís not too bad," Brown said. "I take it all the way back to college. Iíve been playing both sides of the line, left tackle and right tackle. So itís pretty much the same. Now itís just all about mastering the technique at the right side."

                    That would mean Reynolds would head back over to the left side, the position he manned while Saffold recovered from the offseason shoulder surgery he had in January.

                    Brown said making the change now after five games on the left side would come with some challenges though it's nothing he's not prepared to handle.

                    "It can kind of play with your head," Brown said. "On the left side youíre used to certain plays and being the front side of the play now youíre on the right side and those plays you were the front side, now youíre the backside so it can get confusing at times. I think I do a pretty good job with it."

                    After a preseason in which the Rams had next to no stability on the offensive line, an upheaval of any sort now is far from ideal, especially considering that unit's struggles in the first five weeks. Of course, Saffold's injury left no choice in the matter, but the Rams are still seeking consistency from a group that entered the season as the team's biggest question mark.

                    At least in this move, Brown is going back to a spot in which he's familiar and puts him back next to right tackle Rob Havenstein.

                    "Iím very confident," Brown said. "It doesnít skip a beat. Iíve worked with everybody in our room. It doesnít really matter who Iíll be working with. Iíll do my part and Iím sure everybody else will do theirs."
                    -10-22-2015, 04:23 PM
                  • 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.

                    ďItís 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,Ē Saffold said. ďIt was tough. But I was able to get through it.Ē

                    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 teamís 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 heís 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.

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

                    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. Heís back to lifting large amounts of weights and challenging his teammates to get on his level.

                    ďYou are always going to feel that (apprehension),Ē Saffold said. ďBut now I have gotten so comfortable that I know that itís OK so itís been good. I have been making strides every week.Ē

                    While Saffold has been packing on muscle, heís also been slowly working his way back into the mix on the field as well. During the teamís 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 itís more important for him to be at full speed...
                    -06-14-2012, 10:39 PM
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