ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The first NFL start was mind-boggling enough for St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Rodger Saffold without worrying about yapping from the other side of the line. So he did his best to ignore Arizona's Joey Porter.
"He was like, 'If I get him talking, he's going to be so flustered and it's going to be a long day,"' Saffold said of Porter, a veteran pass rusher who has 92 sacks in his career.
Saffold refused to return the trash talk.
"Just because of what the vets told me, to make sure I don't talk back," Saffold said. "You can be talking to somebody and when you get to the line forget the play, and I wasn't going to let that happen."
Saffold kept his mouth shut and the Rams' second-round pick acquitted himself well in his NFL debut. He did allow one sack but otherwise more than held his own in the Rams' 17-13 loss to the Cardinals last weekend.
"Actually, I had a pretty good day, but there is definitely some corrections I need to make," Saffold said. "I'm shooting for that excellent, some day where I know I am really getting the hang of this stuff."
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo thought his young tackle from Indiana did well in the opener.
"He had a couple issues where he misfired, but for a rookie going in there and playing left tackle, I thought he did a pretty good job," Spagnuolo said.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer agreed. He liked what he saw and how well Saffold protected rookie quarterback and No. 1 pick Sam Bradford.
"Rodger's got the skill and ability to play the position," Shurmer said. "He actually performed pretty well. Just like everybody out there, though, they had mistakes that we can tidy up, and part of being a good pro is fixing those in practice so they don't show up again."
The Rams want to make sure Bradford doesn't get hammered like former quarterback Marc Bulger.
"It's real important that you move your feet and use your hands well," Shurmer said. "Then when you run the ball, you've got to be effective that way as well. I think Rodger has the physical ability. ... I think the improvement you make between game one and game two will be immense."
The Rams are at Oakland this Sunday. Like the Rams, the Raiders lost their opener.
Veteran guard Adam Golderg, who also has played left tackle, said Saffold has what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
"He's a very impressive young man. He does everything right," Goldberg said. "He goes about his business the right way. He puts in extra work in the film room. He asks good questions. He's just a very mature professional for being a rookie."
Saffold knows he has things to work on to improve his play. He's more than willing to put in the time to be successful.
"There's a lot of shifts, a lot of different movement in that game that needed attention the next day in the corrections period," Saffold said. "Now, I feel better about playing next week. Now that it's under my belt I feel like I've got a good feel of how to play throughout a game instead of just like a first half or the first series."
Notes: DT Cliff Ryan did not practice again Friday. He was hospitalized Wednesday night and released Thursday. He said tests revealed it was a migraine headache. "You'll see me Sunday," Ryan said. "I'm going to play."
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)