ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rodger Saffold was the St. Louis Rams' left tackle his first three NFL seasons, wearing his boyhood idol Orlando Pace's No. 76 jersey and leading the protection for Sam Bradford.
He's had several months to handle the reality that it is no longer his position.
"I mean, it's a business," Saffold said. "I enjoy the left tackle position but at the same time I'm loyal to the team, anybody will tell you that. Now, I'm just trying to see if I can put it all together."
Saffold said he'll make the transition, and get the job done.
"I'm not used to folding, that's the biggest pressure," he said. "It's going good as long as I keep working."
Jake Long got a four-year, $34 million free agent deal to be the left tackle. So Saffold, a natural lefty, is adjusting to right tackle.
Hitting the weight room could help him make the transition.
"There's no doubt in my mind that he's going to come in and play at a Pro Bowl level, and knowing you've got that anchor on the blind side, it really helps," Bradford said.
Thus far, defensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said Saffold has been a fairly quick study.
"In the spring there were some growing pains, I think," Schottenheimer said. "He obviously worked extremely hard over the break and he's really looked good."
Defensive end Chris Long goes against Saffold every day in practice, and was impressed after an estimated 1,400 fans attended the first full-pad practice of camp Monday.
"I've always had a lot of faith in Rodger as a player and I think he's in a really good spot," Long said. "He's really done a great job of kind of embracing the change."
Saffold was a right tackle for a few weeks during OTAs as a rookie in 2010 before displacing Jason Smith. Aside from that, he hasn't played there since the ninth grade in Bedford, Ohio.
He's the latest in a long line of starters at a revolving door position. Since moving to the Midwest in 1995, only Smith, Alex Barron, Ryan Tucker and Wayne Gandy have held the spot more than one year.
Saffold follows a one-year shift by Barry Richardson, who was following in the footsteps of Adam Goldberg, John St. Clair, Kyle Turley, Grant Williams, Darryl Ashmore, Brandon Gorin and Zach Wiegert.
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