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Rams' top pick getting a trial by fire
Hill is seeing major minutes with other corners injured
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - It was a real tough day at the office last Sunday for St. Louis Rams rookie cornerback Tye Hill.
Hill got burned on a couple of deep passes, including a 46-yard touchdown reception by Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of the Rams' 23-20 win over the Green Bay Packers.
"Welcome to the National Football League," Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "There's not a corner in the National Football League who is not going to get beat deep. You give up a big play, you just have forget it and line up and play again.
"It's just like a pitcher. You give up a home run, what are going to do? Walk off the mound and quit? You have to pitch the ball on the next pitch. He is going to have to get thick-skinned with that."
Asked if Hill's pass coverage was good at times against the Packers, Haslett made a face like he'd bitten into a piece of rotten fruit.
"This is the first time he's played 55-70 plays in a row," Haslett said. "If you look at it, he probably played 64 pretty good plays. There were six that he played really, really bad.
"Two of them were glaring because they were long balls."
Hill admitted being dejected after the game, because he felt like he let his teammates down.
"I just don't want it to happen again," Hill said. "After the game, it's OK to reflect. You look back and see what you did wrong and try to correct it. There's nothing wrong with flipping back a page right when you're done playing."
Haslett said Hill needs to work on the little details that can make a big difference during games.
"I'm glad it upset him because it means he cares about it," Haslett said. "The things that we are coaching him to do, he has to take it to the field. He can't just try to do it in practice and not take it to the game.
"He has a lot of talent. Nobody is going to run by him, nobody is going to get much separation on him. He just needs to clean up his technique."
Hill could see a lot of action in the Rams' game against the Seattle Seahawks at noon Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome because cornerbacks Fahkir Brown and Travis Fisher are both nursing injuries.
Brown and Fisher are still listed as questionable for the game. Rams coach Scott Linehan said both players took part in practice on a limited basis Thursday.
"I think Fisher looks ahead of Fahkir for now," Linehan said. "We'll evaluate it and make a pretty firm decision tomorrow."
The Seahawks have one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL with Darrell Jackson, Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram and Deion Branch. Engram is questionable against the Rams because of a thyroid problem.
"They're all playmakers, and they all run pretty good routes," Hill said. "You have to stay disciplined. There's going to be a lot of film study this week."
Hill said he's been trading barbs this week with Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill, a former teammate at Clemson.
"One of my best friends that I played with in college plays for them," Hill said. "He's sending me text messages saying, 'You better be practicing,' and stuff like that. We jaw back and forth with each other."
Hill, the 15th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, has had a roller-coaster rookie season so far. He's played well at times -- he had an interception in the team's opener against Denver and he also leads the team in special teams tackles with five -- but he's also been picked on by opposing quarterbacks.
"To be quite honest with you, it's been up and down," Hill said. "I feel like I'm not being consistent. I show up one week and I feel like I don't show up the next week, but I'm my worst critic. I just have to work harder and try to be as consistent as possible every play, every down."
Hill said he didn't feel any extra pressure to perform since he was a first-round draft pick.
"I could have been a seventh-round draft pick and it would still be a lot of pressure me," Hill said. "If I ever feel like there isn't any pressure, there are going to be more days like Sunday rather than good days."
Re: Rams' top pick getting a trial by fire
This is all part of the learning process. the kid is going to be fantastic. He is going to be pretty much a stop corner. I think he is going to be a probowler within two years, as good or better than deangelo hall. This trade will be one that goes down in history as terrific for both teams. I like cutler a lot and think he is going to be an excellent qb. Ty Hill plus Big Claude is going to be worth even more than cutler, given that we have bulger and will have him for years to come. I think wrotens upside is great, we all knew that, but i see some good stuff coming from big claude in the very near future, maybe even this sunday vs. seattle.
ramming speed to all