Practice Report 10/15: Saffold Placed on IR

Posted Oct 15, 2015

Head coach Jeff Fisher announced Thursday right guard Rodger Saffold has been placed on IR and will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.

The mantra of “next man up” continues at Rams Park, as head coach Jeff Fisher announced after Thursday’s practice right guard Rodger Saffold has been placed on injured reserve. The offensive lineman will undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder -- the shoulder not repaired this past offseason.

“Our doctors agreed with the second opinion, so [the surgery] will take place in the next couple of days. So, he’s been placed on IR without a designation for return,” Fisher said. “We think that’s the best thing for his future.”

Saffold exited Sunday’s contest with Green Bay in the first quarter and did not return. Fisher said Saffold was obviously disappointed after the game, but was willing to try to play through the injury -- much like he did last year.

“Inevitably it’s going to come out again, when we talk about the condition of his shoulder,” Fisher said. “So, we just felt like for career-wise and future-wise, it’s best to get it fixed.”

And having the surgery done now as opposed to after the season will allow Saffold to finish the rehab process sooner.

“We’re getting an earlier start,” Fisher said. “His return to play and to 100 percent is estimated somewhere in February or March, so he’ll have a good offseason.”

Losing anyone to a season-ending injury is tough, but center Tim Barnes said he realizes how it’s especially so for Saffold.

“I feel really bad for Rodger just because he just came off of rehabbing the other shoulder,” Barnes said. “I feel for him and I know exactly what he’s going through. I know he’s going to go through a little bit of a rough time, but that’s why we’ll be here to help him through it.”

Barnes added that Saffold has been in the building over the last few days, and teammates have been giving him plenty of support.

“You have to feel for him, but then unfortunately, the thing you have to do is also move on,” Barnes said. “So that’s what we’re just trying to do.”

With Saffold out, veteran Garrett Reynolds will step in at right guard. Signed as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, Reynolds went in for Saffold on Sunday and did and well in his stead, according to Fisher.

“Garrett plugged right in,” the head coach said earlier in the week. “I was fine with the way he played. He was a settling factor and was cutting people downfield and finishing plays.”

“We know that Garrett is going to step in there, he’s going to do great,” Barnes said. “We’ve just got to get back used to playing next to each other -- the communication and everything.”

If there is a silver lining to the situation, it could be that the injury came just before the bye week. Because of that, the offensive linemen have a little more time to work on the communication between them with Reynolds now at right guard. Barnes noted how helpful it’s been, saying even though the current five men on the line have played and practiced together before, it’s been since August.

“You’ve got to go back in there and get used to how you communicate and things like that,” Barnes said. “With Rodger and me, we didn’t have to say a whole lot because we knew what each other was looking at. So then you’ve just got to get used to playing next to that other person. It helps that we’ve been able to get those extra practices in there and get used to it.”

“That's my job to be ready no matter what happens,” Reynolds said earlier in the week. “Step in and fill in wherever they tell me to go.”


In addition to Saffold, Fisher announced on Thursday tight end Lance Kendricks has undergone surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. Kendricks sustained the injury Week 1 against the Seahawks, but has played through it.

“It needed to be repaired, so we repaired it on Monday,” Fisher said. “We waited through the bye week. Courageous effort since the Seattle game with the injury, so he’s going to be questionable for Cleveland.”

With Saffold heading to IR and Kendricks’ injury, St. Louis promoted tight end Justice Cunningham from its practice squad to the active roster.

“Justice has earned that right and we’ll be fine until Lance is ready to come back,” Fisher said.

Cunningham said he found out the move just before practice on Thursday.

“I just have to take the same approach I take every day,” Cunningham said. “You’ve got to be prepared always.”

The tight end is known as a good blocker, and Fisher said he can contribute on special teams as well.

“He knows the offense and he can play on the line,” Fisher said. “He can play the fullback position, do all the same things that Lance has done."


One of the consequences of losing Saffold for the rest of the season is the Rams’ backup roles on the offensive line will change. The versatile veteran had also been serving as a backup tackle. Now that Saffold is out, rookie Darrell Williams will slot into that role.

“Darrell will be up getting the work as the potential backup left tackle,” Fisher said. “Darrell understands what he’s doing and had a good week of work this week, so he can come ready to play.”

Williams is an undrafted rookie out of USF who made the initial 53-man roster after training camp.