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Saipaia is No. 1 right tackle for now - AP
Saipaia is No. 1 right tackle for now
ST. LOUIS - Blaine Saipaia was the St. Louis Rams' most consistent right tackle last year, and at least for now he's still No. 1.
Coach Mike Martz anointed first-round pick Alex Barron the starter shortly after taking him in the draft, but he was demoted to second string after struggling in minicamp so he would have time to adjust. Plus, he was one of three players who remained unsigned on Thursday, the first day of training camp.
So, this is Saipaia's time to shine.
"I'm just here to work and get myself better," Saipaia said Thursday. "If it's as the starter, that's great. If not, I'm going to back my teammates 100 percent.
"If he's better than me he can have the job, but I'm not just going to step aside."
Saipaia got ready for his first training camp with the Rams by shedding 10 pounds, although he still has plenty of heft at 325 pounds.
"I dropped a little bit of weight and got myself in a lot better shape than last year," Saipaia said. "It gets a little harder to move around, so I figured I'd get a little lighter on my feet."
Saipaia played in eight games last year after being inactive the first eight games. He was originally scheduled to compete for a spot at guard, but said anywhere on the line would be fine with him.
"I'm pretty much comfortable on the field," he said. "Wherever they want to put me, I'll be out there."
MR. PRESIDENT: Though the Rams fell far short of the winning the Super Bowl, linebacker Brandon Chillar got an offseason trip to the White House.
Chillar, a linebacker entering his second season with St. Louis, was invited to a dinner with President Bush about two weeks ago because he's the first NFL player of Indian descent. His father, Ram, is from India and also attended the dinner.
"It was an honor," Chillar said. "I'm a big fan of his and I voted for him. He's the most powerful man in the world and I got to meet him at age 22."
Not only that, Chillar sat at the same table as the president.
"We talked about some politics and I tried to learn a thing or two," Chillar said.
HANDS OFF: The Rams have added a fourth jersey color for training camp. Offense wears white, defense wears blue, quarterbacks wear red and running backs Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk are wearing gold.
Red means hands off and gold means, essentially, do not jostle. Coach Mike Martz wants to make sure the two at least make it to the preseason schedule healthy.
"We want them to understand this is just 'touch off' on these guys and 'tag off' on others," Martz said. "We know what they are.
"They need to get their run reads down and their acceleration, and the contact will come in the preseason."
BRIEFLY: Among the guests on the first day of training camp were NASCAR drivers Kenny and Mike Wallace of St. Louis, in town for the Gateway 250 in Madison, Ill. ... The first-day attendance of 1,134 was greater than only five days at training camp last year. "There is no question that our team is energized by the great fans and supporters we have here," Rams vice president Bob Wallace said.
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Re: Saipaia is No. 1 right tackle for now - APHis (Chillar) father, Ram,"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod