Cody Ford had never played as much football as he did his rookie season in the NFL.
“When they say it’s a long season, it’s a long season,” he said.
The first pro football season is always the longest. For Ford, 2020 started with a bowl game to close out his college career. Then it was combine prep, the NFL combine and OTA’s before a month off before training camp. Following camp, Ford played four preseason games and 16 regular season games.
“That’s 20 games right there. In a college season, you’re lucky to play 13,” Ford said. “I had no idea it was actually going to be that long. That was a big eye opener.”
Ford noted the Wild Card berth, which was a Bills goal achieved, still tacked another game on his year.
While Ford survived, he did not emerge unscathed. He had surgery on his shoulder the week after the season ended. He was in Buffalo rehabbing until March and felt fortunate that the important part of the rehab was pre-pandemic.
The team trusted Ford to properly continue his rehab and did not require a return to Buffalo for it.
“That was the biggest thing I wanted to do: show them I’m a professional. I can take care of myself,” Ford said.
The shoulder surgery slowed Ford’s offseason work on upper body work. Instead, he focused on the lower body.
“Half the of the technique comes from your feet,” Ford said. “That was the thing I was mostly working on: my footwork and where my leverage would be with this block vs. this block.”
Ford has long been rumored for a move inside to guard. Despite a couple different opportunities to make it happen since last season, the Bills seem satisfied leaving Ford at tackle.
He still wants to be ready if asked to play guard or tackle. Ford thinks versatility is a key and he doesn’t want to be limited to one position or even one side of the line.
“My preference is to do what the team needs. I’m not going to sit here and pick and choose my position,” Ford said. “Coach is going to put the best five on the field and whoever they feel that is and whatever positions they think everybody needs to play, they are going to make the ultimate decisions. It’s not up to me at all.”
Ford says offseason is the perfect time to work on out of position skills and techniques. After all the football he played last year, Ford was just thankful to have an offseason.