Holt: Forgotten man?
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Wednesday, Sep. 10 2008
Torry Holt was simply trying to get a good look at the play. It turns out he
got too good of a look in the early going of the Rams' 38-3 loss Sunday in
"I was watching what was going on," Holt said. "I've done it several times, and
the play just happened so quick."
On the second play from scrimmage, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb threw a
deep sideline pass to rookie DeSean Jackson. Jackson leaped for the ball over
Rams cornerback Tye Hill, and then raced downfield in front of the St. Louis
bench for a 47-yard completion.
Fifteen more yards were tacked onto the play because a member of referee Peter
Morelli's officiating crew ran into Holt near the Rams' bench.
"The ref backed up and I didn't get out of the way quick enough," Holt said.
Holt said he had no idea that the inadvertent contact would draw a penalty.
"I thought the flag was (for) something in the field of play," Holt said. "When
they said it was on me, I was like, 'Oh, wow.' I need to get in my rulebook a
little bit more."
Unfortunately for Holt and the Rams, that was the only time Holt was noticed
Sunday. The seven-time Pro Bowler, and the NFL's most productive receiver this
decade in terms of catches and yards, was limited to one catch for 9 yards.
"We had some times where we had some plays up that were going to me, but
coverage dictated where the ball went and things like that," Holt said. "Marc
(Bulger) wasn't going to force anything, and I wouldn't recommend that he force
Bulger threw to seven other receivers — from Drew Bennett to Keenan Burton to
Dan Kreider — before Holt had the first pass thrown his way, with 20 seconds to
go in the first half. Holt dropped the low throw, but the short pass was
well-covered and would have gone for only a couple of yards.
The only other time Holt had a ball thrown his way came on the opening drive of
the second half, when he caught it.
"They doubled him quite a bit," offensive coordinator Al Saunders said. "So you
try to dictate a couple of routes to him, and they doubled him over the top. We
had to throw the checkdowns underneath. But he'll get going. He's a guy that
he'll get his numbers when the year's over."
But he didn't Sunday. You have to go back 59 games, to a 2004 contest in Miami,
to find a game in which Holt was similarly uninvolved in the offense. He caught
one pass for 4 yards then in a 31-14 defeat.
For years, Holt benefited from the presence of Isaac Bruce on the other side of
field — and vice versa. But Bruce no longer is a Ram; he had been replaced by
Bennett in the starting lineup. But Bennett went down on the Rams' first
offensive series against the Eagles with a broken foot, and Holt saw a steady
diet of double-teaming the rest of the way.
Given everything that went wrong in Philadelphia, Holt's quiet day didn't
attract much notice. But make no mistake, this weekend's opponent — the New
York Giants — and the rest of the NFL defenses on the Rams' schedule took
"I expect to get double-teamed all year," Holt said. "I hope not as often as
(Sunday). But I plan to see some double-teams, and I just leave it up to the
coaches to do a good job of scheming, putting us in a situation where we all
can make plays."
Better success running the ball will help. Fewer predictable third-and-long
situations, where the defense doesn't have to think run, will also help. It's
also tougher to double wide receivers when they're in the slot or go in motion.
Double-teams or not, the Rams have to find ways to get the ball to Holt.
"Of course, yeah," Linehan said. "You just can't say, 'Well, he's dealt with
(by the defense), he's out of the game.' You've got to be creative. I know Al
did a great job of making the adjustments necessary to get Torry more involved
and all that stuff. But we've got to play better as an offense. It's not just
about taking our No. 1 receiver away, it's about us not executing as an