|Holt hoping for big 10th year with Rams|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 31 July 2008 12:26|
At St. Louis Rams training camp, one of only four remaining holdovers from the franchise's Super Bowl run from 1999-2001 has opted for unity. One of the NFL's most productive wide receivers has his eye on proving himself anew in his 10th season, after struggling with a knee injury much of last season.
``I said that then, and I'm done with that,'' Holt said. ``It's about the 2008 Rams and getting ourselves in a position to win some games.''
Holt's comments were at least partly motivated by the unceremonial departure of fellow wide receiver Isaac Bruce, released in a salary cap move. Bruce is third on the NFL career list with 14,070 yards receiving, trailing only Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, and sixth in career receptions, but he'll resume his assault on the records with the rival 49ers.
During the winter, Holt and Bruce chatted about the end of an era.
``You know what, it's different,'' Holt said. ``But I guess I've vented that frustration and I've moved on. I wish Isaac well, I wish he was here, but I've got to work with the guys that we have.''
Holt said Bruce wasn't bitter, either.
``No man, Isaac is cool,'' he said. ``Isaac is humble and businesslike. He's a pro basically, just handle your business and I know you're going to handle yours.''
A balky right knee did not prevent Holt from earning his seventh Pro Bowl invitation last season, with his 93 catches, 1,189 yards receiving and seven touchdowns all leading the Rams. He has eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, needing one more to tie Tim Brown for the second-longest run in league history.
Since 2000, Holt's 11,076 yards receiving lead the NFL. This year, he plans on wrapping up a decade of remarkable consistency.
``You know how it is. You get in 10 years and get into your 30s and plus, and some people say you don't have it anymore and you start to lose a step,'' Holt said. ``Rightfully so. I want to come out and say for my 10th year that I came out and played well.''
To make it to the end of the season at his best, Holt plans on resting the knee whenever possible. That was his offseason strategy, as well, when he wasn't using yoga, stretching, weight lifting and pool work to stay strong and limber for another season.
During training camp, the coaching staff is monitoring his practice time to keep him at his best. Rams coach Scott Linehan and offensive coordinator Al Saunders are leaving it up to Holt to let him know what he's up for.
``I have to be smarter and work smarter and give myself time to heal,'' Holt said. ``But at the same time give myself a chance to see what's going on, feel the offense more so I can be ready for the main thing and that's Sunday.
``I have to continue to talk to myself and say, 'Hey, Torry, just pull back and just relax.'''
Holt also can lean on some of the tricks of the trade he's accumulated over the years.
``The NFL, and you never get it when you're younger, is more mental than physical,'' quarterback Marc Bulger said. ``His technique is better than any receiver in the league and his physical abilities are still unbelievable. He still has it.''
Saunders' offense is essentially a return to the attack he helped run during the Rams' glory years, adding to Holt's comfort factor.
``Al is a terrific teacher, a tremendous motivator and demands excellence,'' Holt said. ``It's a vertical game, it's fast and the tempo is good so it's exciting.''