BY BILL COATS • bcoats@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8189 | Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 12:15 am

Rams left tackle Rodger Saffold has started all 10 games during his rookie season. And he vowed that the string wouldn't end this Sunday, when the Rams play at Denver.

It hasn't been easy lately, however, for the second-round draft pick from Indiana.

Saffold experienced soreness in his shoulder late in the week leading up to the Nov. 14 contest at San Francisco. Still, he was in the lineup that Sunday until a sprained ankle in the second quarter ended his day.

Despite some soreness in the ankle, he was OK to go this past Sunday vs. Atlanta. But late in the fourth quarter, he hurt the shoulder again.

"They thought initially it was a rotator cuff" injury, coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He felt something pop, and then it was sore, certainly lost a little bit of strength."

An MRI exam came back negative, and the injury has been diagnosed as a strain.

"Pretty much the same thing, just retweaked it during the game," said Saffold, who also has fought through some back troubles. "I got caught in a bad position when I was pass blocking. It was really hurting after that. I knew I had to come out."

After some rest and rehab, he plans to be ready to go against the Broncos. "It's just something that I'm going to deal with the rest of the season," Saffold said.

Injury report

Other than Saffold's late exit and some cramping experienced by defensive backs Oshiomogho Atogwe, Ron Bartell and Justin King in the second half, the Rams stayed healthy in the 34-17 loss to the Falcons.

They should get even healthier this week, with safety James Butler (ankle) and wide receiver Danario Alexander (knee) expected to be available. Both were close to being ready Sunday, Spagnuolo said.

Spagnuolo on Childress

Spagnuolo and Brad Childress became close friends when they worked together on Andy Reid's staff in Philadelphia in 2004 and '05. In 2006, Childress left to become head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, but the friendship endured.

Childress was fired Monday, a day after a 31-3 loss the Green Bay dropped the Vikings' record to 3-7.

"I love Brad. I know he's a terrific coach and even a better person," Spagnuolo said. "But we all know when we accept these jobs and get in these kind of positions that can happen. But I guarantee you Brad will bounce back."

Milestone for Jackson

With 61 yards from scrimmage Sunday, running back Steven Jackson became the fourth player in franchise history to reach 10,000 in a career. Jackson, a seventh-year veteran, stands at 10,048 yards — 7,518 rushing and 2,530 receiving.

"I was unaware of that," Jackson said. "It's a huge milestone, and hopefully we can keep it going. But more importantly, I want to win. That's the thing."

Isaac Bruce (14,259) holds the Rams record, followed by fellow wide receiver Torry Holt (12,717) and running back Marshall Faulk (11,030).

Title for Kroenke

Rams owner Stan Kroenke hustled from the Edward Jones Dome to the airport after Sunday's game, heading for Toronto and the Major League Soccer championship game. The Colorado Rapids, which Kroenke also owns, beat FC Dallas 2-1 in overtime for the title.

Spagnuolo opened his Monday news conference by offering congratulations. "It was great to see Mr. Kroenke yesterday, and I'm real happy for that team winning that," Spagnuolo said.

Ram-blings

Josh Brown's 53-yard field goal in the second quarter was his longest of the season and the 22nd successful kick from 50 yards-plus in his eight NFL seasons. … Linebacker James Laurinaitis had 15 tackles, according to the coaches' film review, the highest total by a Rams defender this year. … Just 10 games into the season, quarterback Sam Bradford has set Rams rookie records for passes attempted (376) and passes completed (228). … Boeing purchased 1,000 tickets for veterans and members of the armed forces for Salute the Military Day at the dome Sunday.