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Butler plays little, but Haslett insists cornerback not in Rams' doghouse
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett dismissed the notion that cornerback Jerametrius Butler has been locked away in the doghouse.
"There's not one guy on this team, at least that I know of, that is in the doghouse, period," Haslett said. "He's done nothing wrong. Basically what it came down to, why he's not out there is because if you are the third, fourth or fifth corner on a football team, you have to be a very good special teams player. We have some guys who are a little better on special teams, that's all."
Butler, in uniform for the first time this season after being inactive for the first four games this season, had a fumble recovery with 36 seconds left that helped preserve the Rams' 23-20 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Butler started 31 games from 2003-04, but he sat out last season because of a knee injury suffered early in training camp.
Rookie cornerback Tye Hill and second-year cornerback-safety Ron Bartell both moved ahead of Butler on the Rams' depth chart during training camp. Haslett said Hill and Bartell are better special teams players than Butler.
"It's the same thing at linebacker," Haslett said. "There's a reason that (Isaiah Kacyvenski) was dressed, and not Jamal Brooks. Jamal is a good special teams player, but we think Kaz is a special one. That's the same thing with receivers or the second and third tight end. If you're not a starter, you have to contribute in other areas."
Butler entered the game in the second half against the Packers after Bartell started experiencing cramps.
"I thought he was OK," Haslett said of Butler's play against the Packers. "I was glad for him and Ronnie. Ronnie Bartell did a nice job when he was in there. It's good to see that you have guys who can step in and perform and not have great dropoff."
Cornerback Travis Fisher has a strained groin muscle, but it's not the same groin muscle that has bothered him for more than a year.
"It's the other one from the one that was bothering him," Rams coach Scott Linehan said.
Fisher was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, but the results of the test weren't known.
Linehan said cornerback Fahkir Brown, who sat out the game against the Packers because of a sprained ankle, will be day-to-day this week.
Bartell (cramps) and middle linebacker Will Witherspoon (mild ankle sprain) both came out of the game against the Packers because of injuries, but then returned.
"We came out reasonably healthy, but we have a few nicks that we'll have to manage during the week," Linehan said.
Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace, who missed the previous game because he was suffering the residual effects of a concussion, wasn't even mentioned on Linehan's injury report after playing the entire game against the Packers.
"I didn't mention him because we think we have gotten past that," Linehan said. "He shouldn't have any limitations this week."
• Rams defensive end Leonard Little has five sacks this season after being awarded a sack on the play where he forced Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre to fumble with 36 seconds left.
Prior to swatting the ball out of Favre's hands, Haslett had goaded Little about not making a big play in the game.
"I said, 'Are you going to do something for me?" Haslett said. "He's a good football player, and you expect the good ones to step up and make a play. He did it when it was time. I wish he would have done it a little earlier."
The sack was originally awarded to defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who hit Favre right after he fumbled.
"I thought Jimmy played his best game of the year," Haslett said. "He was very active. He did a lot of good things. He rushed the quarterback well. He's played five games at the nose position, but he's starting to come along and understand exactly what we want. He was very active yesterday."
• Rams running back Steven Jackson is tied with San Francisco's Frank Gore for the NFL lead in rushing yards with 465. Jackson also still tops the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 649.
• Offensive coordinator Greg Olson was excused from work on Monday because of an unspecified family emergency.
Linehan said the Rams' offensive coaches would pick up Olson's workload in preparing a game plan for the Seattle Seahawks.
"This is an important family issue that he has to take care of, and that's always going to be a priority," Linehan said.
• CBC High School coach Bob Shannon is the recipient of the Rams' Coach of the Week award after the Cadets won their fifth straight game and clinched a share of the Metro Catholic Conference title by beating Francis Howell 42-21.
Shannon coached previously at East St. Louis Senior High School and Alton High School.
Re: Butler plays little, but Haslett insists cornerback not in Rams' doghouse"I thought Jimmy played his best game of the year," Haslett said. "He was very active. He did a lot of good things. He rushed the quarterback well. He's played five games at the nose position, but he's starting to come along and understand exactly what we want. He was very active yesterday."JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
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