By Jim Thomas and Bill Coats
Sunday, Sep. 21 2008
Fakhir Brown is back in the Rams' starting lineup Sunday in Seattle, and Tye
Hill is out. After coming off the bench the first two games for St. Louis,
Brown returns to the starting cornerback position he had manned most of the
past two seasons.

Because of a left shoulder injury he suffered on the first day of training
camp, Brown played only in the nickel package in losses to Philadelphia and the
New York Giants.

He was replaced in the starting lineup in those games by Ron Bartell. Bartell
is staying in the starting lineup, but Hill isn't. Hill won't play in the base
defense. But when Seattle goes with three wide receivers, Hill will come off
the bench in the nickel package.

Hill struggled in coverage against the Eagles and Giants, and his confidence
appears to be sagging.


The Rams and Seahawks, who have claimed five of the six NFC West titles since
the divisions were revamped in 2002, both carry 0-2 records into Sunday's
contest at Qwest Field. While the Rams' ugly start has made coach Scott
Linehan's job security a heated topic of discussion here, things have remained
relatively calm in Seattle.

"There's definitely no panic," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "I still
believe we'll win our division; we've just made it a little harder on


Brett Romberg reports that his hand, broken during training camp, is "very
close" to being fully healed and that he no longer has pain when he snaps. So,
he's ready to go.

Problem is, there's no place for him to go; Nick Leckey has taken over as the
Rams' first-team center. While acknowledging his frustration at losing his job,
Romberg remained philosophical. "It happens all the time," he said. "Obviously,
you've got to stay healthy to stay on the field."


Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren announced months ago that this season would be his
last. No glitzy "Farewell Tour" for him, though.

"It's business as usual," Holmgren said. "Before I came back for this last
year, we talked long and hard about it as a family, and once the decision was
made, my approach was the same as it was every year."


Hasselbeck has connected on just 45.5 percent of his passes; his career
percentage is 60.5. The fact that Seattle's top six receivers are injured and
out of the lineup is an obvious factor.

"He hasn't changed, so what I'm thinking it is, we've had so many combinations
and we've had to change some things around," Holmgren said. "He's doing a great
job. In situations like this, the leadership ability of your quarterback is
hugely important, and I couldn't be more proud of a player than I am of Matt
Hasselbeck right now."