ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) — Rodger Saffold is feeling better than at any other time in his NFL career.
The Rams left tackle is relatively healthy after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a pectoral injury late last season. He practiced Tuesday after sitting out the previous two days with minor soreness in his groin.
“I’ve been doing good with confidence. First it came with the weight room,” Saffold said. “After I started pushing up more and more weight, I started feeling more comfortable out here on the field, too.”
He tore his left pectoral muscle working with dumbbells and missed the final seven games of the 2011 season. He wasn’t cleared for full participation until shortly before the start of training camp in late July.
He said the only time he thinks about the injury is if he has to reach out to block someone who is going wide.
“It’s just a fact of how well I maintain the rehab on it,” Saffold said. “If you stay away from (rehab), it can go from the pec, to the shoulder, then even sometime down the arm. So you have to keep working on it.”
Because he couldn’t work out at organized team activities during the spring, he’s behind the rest of the line in learning the Rams’ newest offense. Entering his third year in the league, he’s adjusting to his third offense.
“He’s good,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “He’s doing fine; learning, playing physical.”
His health and, for the most part, that of the rest of the offensive line is in contrast to the past two years. Saffold said the lack of consistency was a major reason quarterback Sam Bradford was unable to finish the season after twice being forced to miss time with a high ankle sprain.
Center Scott Wells, a key free agent pickup this offseason, remains on the sideline as he works back from arthroscopic surgery on his knee. No timetable is set time for his return, but the team expects he him to slip into position before the start of the year.
Whatever security the line can get will be welcomed for Bradford, who confirmed after the team’s scrimmage Saturday that his ankle is still not healed.
“Yeah, it is a little bit frustrating that it’s somewhat there still,” he said. “I thought that with rest in the offseason, it would’ve been gone by now. But it’s not.”
The Rams have shown a number of two-tight end sets in training camp in what look to be an attempt to protect their quarterback. Saffold said until he sees the game plan for Sunday’s preseason opener at Indianapolis, he won’t know exactly how the tight ends will fit into the blocking scheme.
What he does know is that even with the time he missed and with Wells sitting out, the offensive line feels more comfortable already than it did either of the past two years.
“We had so many nicks and bumps and bruises throughout the season that we didn’t mesh as well,” Saffold said. “Then, sometimes, guys would try to do too much, then we’d end up letting somebody go that shouldn’t be let go and they’d end up getting an easy sack.
“Really what we’ve got to do is just continue to communicate, continue to work together.”
NOTES: RB Daryl Richardson practiced for the first time this preseason Tuesday. The seventh-round pick out of Abilene Christian injured his hamstring earlier in the summer and is expected to see minor playing time against Indianapolis. . WR Brandon Gibson, who has had one of the better training camps thus far, sat out with general tightness according to Fisher and isn’t expected to miss any more time. . RB Steven Jackson sat out the last half of practice to rest Fisher said. There were no injury concerns.