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'The stage has not been too big' for Saints rookie Ryan Ramczyk

Ryan Ramcyzk has provided an instant impact along the Saints' offensive line. Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

METAIRIE, La. -- Larry Warford chuckled as he mentioned the first-game jitters that New Orleans Saints rookie offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk was feeling in the locker room in Week 1 -- partly because Warford recalls feeling those same jitters himself.

Aside from that, players and coaches have universally praised Ramczyk for having the poise and confidence of someone who doesn't feel much like a rookie.

That has been a very good thing for the Saints, since Ramczyk now appears to be entrenched as a full-time starter with veteran right tackle Zach Strief going on injured reserve Tuesday.

"For him to come into games now just so calm and collected, I think it's impressive to watch. And he's been very, very solid so far. So I'm excited to see where he goes from here," Warford said of Ramczyk, who started at left tackle in Weeks 1 and 4 and right tackle in Weeks 2 and 3.

"Being able to play both sides as a rookie, that just speaks volumes of the kind of player he is and what he’s gonna pan out to be. I really respect him for it, and it's great to see that out of a young guy to be that versatile."

Ramczyk -- the 32nd pick in the draft out of Wisconsin -- hasn't been perfect. He has allowed at least one sack this season and has been flagged for two holding penalties (one declined).

But above all else, he has come up swimming after being thrown into the deep end of the pool.

Ramczyk's first six months with the Saints are about as far from the blueprint for rookie success as you can get.

  • He had hip surgery before the draft, so he missed all of rookie minicamp, OTAs and veteran minicamp. Then he missed two preseason games with minor unspecified injuries.

  • After playing left tackle in college, Ramczyk trained at the right tackle position in OTAs and minicamps. But then he moved back to left tackle in the preseason after Terron Armstead got hurt. Then he moved back to right tackle in Week 2 after Strief got hurt. Then he moved back to left tackle this past Sunday when Strief returned. Now he'll switch back to right tackle again when Armstead comes back after the bye.

"I think the first thing you think about is, 'Here's a guy that's got a lot of poise and a lot of focus.' That's been impressive about him. The stage has not been too big," Saints offensive line coach Dan Roushar said. "The ability to play both left and right tackle and start in those two spots in four weeks is impressive. But not only that, I feel like he's played pretty well.

"Like always, there's a handful of snaps you'd like to have back. But he's been a quick study, he works his tail off to prepare. And I think it reflects in his play. And we've been impressed with him, and we'll continue to be impressed with him as he grows."

Roushar said Ramczyk has "all the traits you look for" from a work ethic and fundamental standpoint, and his ability to play the unfamiliar right tackle position has been "probably the most impressive thing."

"You look at his set patterns on the left side, and then you watch him go to the right side, which he had never really played, and you really see a very similar balance, you see a similar set plane, you see a similar angle, you see his feet in pretty good position," Roushar said. "And that's not an easy thing to do."

The Saints didn't expect Ramczyk to start in Week 1 or play left tackle when they drafted him. But his ability to adapt on the fly has made them even happier they drafted him.

"It's been good," Sean Payton said. "He's smart, he's played on both sides. It's been very encouraging. And there's a toughness and a mental toughness about him that I'm pleased [with] and I'm glad we have him."