By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
10/23/2005

Rams players were gathered, as usual, Saturday for the 8 a.m. squad meeting in the team auditorium at Rams Park.

These meetings always start promptly at 8 ... but it was 8:01 on the auditorium clock.

"So everybody's murmuring," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "And all of a sudden he busts in."

It was coach Mike Martz.

"I was shocked," Jackson said.

"Everybody was kind of looking around the room," safety Mike Furrey said. "And then you hear this voice as he comes in. ... It was great to see Coach Martz."

It was believed to be Martz's first visit to Rams Park since Oct. 10, when he left for the hospital with a bacterial infection of the heart valve.

"He looked a lot better," Jackson said. "He told us he was going to get some tests, and he said he felt better."

Martz spoke to the team for only a few minutes. He talked about how several younger players had to step up against New Orleans because so many of the Rams' mainstays would miss the contest because of injury or - in the case of defensive end Leonard Little - because of a death in the family.

Then Martz left the meeting room, apparently left Rams Park, and hasn't been seen since by the players. Martz missed his second game because of the illness Sunday, a 28-17 Rams victory over New Orleans at the Edward Jones Dome.

"We know Coach Martz was sitting down on Monday night (against Indianapolis) and throwing stuff at the TV," Furrey said.

Holt sits

On Thursday, wide receiver Torry Holt said his injured right knee felt noticeably better than it did entering the Monday night game in Indianapolis. But on Sunday, he was a surprise pregame scratch against New Orleans.

"At the beginning of the week, things felt fine," Holt said after the Saints game. "Then as I practiced a little bit, things kind of gave out on me, and I didn't feel comfortable with it. ... So I felt it'd be best that I take some time off."

The injury is more than just a bruised knee as originally announced.

"Actually, I've got a strain in my PCL," Holt said, referring to the posterior cruciate ligament in the knee. "I have to rest that and continue to get rehab."

The New Orleans contest marked the first game Holt has missed in his seven NFL seasons.

His status is uncertain for this week's game against Jacksonville.

Ram-blings

Little remained in North Carolina after funeral services for his brother Jermaine, who was shot and killed on Monday. ... Defensive tackle Damione Lewis was ejected midway through the first quarter after punching New Orleans center LeCharles Bentley in the groin area. ... Besides Holt and Little, the Rams' other inactives were: QB Marc Bulger (shoulder injury), WR Isaac Bruce (turf toe injury), RB Aveion Cason, TE Jeff Robinson and OL Rex Tucker.