As spring approaches, the world is in a time of renewal and change. Something, something... poetic musing about how NFL rosters are doing the same thing. With Free agency opening up to the legal tampering period (aka “Free Agency started”), we get the first indications of how the Buffalo Bills will revamp their roster for the coming season. The first of the Bills’ related changes is the addition of guard Rodger Saffold.
I’m starting with this play for a couple reasons. First off, it’s kind of weird that he’s up against Harrison Phillips. With Phillips departing, theoretically this could be a matchup we see again when the Bills take on the Minnesota Vikings this year. More importantly though is that I’m starting off with Rodger Saffold’s strong suit, in my opinion. Notice anything familiar? This is the same kind of blocking that Buffalo leaned more heavily into as last season progressed with Mitch Morse and Ryan Bates showing aptitude in the same area.
The main takeaway from this play is Saffold’s overall speed. He gets a decent chip, but the Bills try to create a bit of confusion. Saffold doesn’t impact the second man a ton, but gets another chip in. He’s back to his original man in time to engage and prevent an easy win.
Saffold does have his flaws. I noted some inconsistency in holding blocks, with defenders able to slip to his side. Gregory Rousseau is mostly taken out of the play but still gets around with time enough to get back in on the tackle. This snap is likely a push between Saffold and Rousseau.
When Saffold is most successful, it’s often a result of these deflection type blocks. Essentially: momentary contact and then reengage as necessary.
This has some elements of the blocking referenced above, but Saffold has to maintain a bit more contact. Overall he does fine on this snap. While there’s a tendency for less success having to maintain continuous contact, I don’t want to insinuate he CAN’T do it, only that he’s less adept at it.
It wasn’t that long ago where nearly every offensive lineman annual recap I did concluded with “not a mauler” in there somewhere. That trend continues as Rodger Saffold is not a mauler.
This is another good example of what I mean. Saffold does well initially by bumping, resetting, and bumping again. When it comes time to establish the block and hold it, he’s beaten to the side. The pause is there to show that despite the late flaw, Saffold blocked long enough to make it work.
I like to end on a high note. This is a good block by Saffold and it gave the ball back to the Cincinnati Bengals to seal the game. That’s a high note for most of us Bills fans who were rooting for the Titans to lose.
I tried looking for a highlight for Play 8 that would be “wow” to someone taking a peek. I came up short and that’s as good a place to start as any. There are plenty of snaps where I felt Rodger Saffold held his own, and plenty more where he did great things. But true highlights? I wouldn’t expect them. That’s not a knock, as Saffold seemed to be a steady presence with a skill set that could be a continuation of what the Bills had success with at the end of the year.
Saffold’s best attributes are his speed and ability to execute on the move. With the current roster and now Saffold in the mix, I don’t anticipate Buffalo stressing a power running game. In the end, while Saffold may not be an annual All-Pro nominee, he fits what Buffalo is good at.