Holt Returns to Help Out

Posted Aug 15, 2012

At his official retirement press conference make in April, legendary Rams receiver Torry Holt made it clear he considers himself a part of the Rams family and insisted he wanted to be around the team any which way he could.

Since, Holt has done nothing but follow through on that promise, even appearing at coach Jeff Fisher’s Celebrity Softball Game last month. This week, Holt is providing more than entertainment to the young Rams receivers as he’s stopped in for a three-day training camp visit.

Holt arrived in St. Louis on Tuesday and will be in town through tomorrow after taking in practice yesterday and today. Holt’s presence has brought out the fan in some of the team’s young wideouts as the man known as “Big Game” has spent time on the practice field and in meeting rooms offering instruction and guidance to a mostly green receiver corps.

“He was in the weight room and walked by and I glanced and I didn’t recognize him and then I heard him say something and I was like ‘that’s Torry Holt,’” rookie receiver Chris Givens said. “I looked and it was like ‘dang,’ it was just surreal at the time because I grew up watching him. Then he came in the meeting room and had some things to say and I was just taking notes trying to learn as much as I could.”

While receivers coach Ray Sherman brings a great deal of experience, wealth and knowledge to his young charges, Danny Amendola and Steve Smith at 26 and 27, respectively, are the longest tenured NFL receivers in the Rams’ receivers room.

Holt brings with him not only a career’s worth of know-how but a resume that ranks him among the greats to ever play the position. Having Holt in camp as a new voice is a welcome change for a group that has spent many waking hours together since together since camp opened.

“Definitely,” Austin Pettis said. “Very good guy, very appreciative to be able to learn from him. Obviously, he’s a Hall of Fame type receiver, but he’s a great guy too. He really wants to help us get better. He’s in our meeting room watching film with us for our extra meetings so it’s real nice when you have guys that want to come back and help you improve.”

For his part, Holt is in town looking to brush up on his knowledge and stay around the game as much as possible as he looks to eventually work his way toward a more permanent broadcasting career.

In the process, if he can help some young wideouts continue to develop, all the better.
“Torry is great,” receiver Danny Amendola said. “I have talked to Torry a number of times whether it be at the Super Bowl or just being around training or the lockout. He is a very, very knowledgeable guy about the game, about how to play, the energy you need to bring to the game. He’s awesome to have around so I am glad he’s here.”

ROSTER MOVES: With some tired legs at wide receiver and some injuries slowing some players down, the Rams made a few roster moves on Wednesday afternoon to add some depth.

First, the team released tight end Jamie Childers then it signed wideouts Charles Gilbert and Brandyn Harvey.

“We have just got a couple guys that are still a couple days away from coming back and the legs and the numbers were down,” Fisher said. “Both Brandyn and Charles had an outstanding workout. They are both in good shape and caught the ball. We need some guys to help us practice and it’s an opportunity for them.”

Childers was a late signing after the draft out of Coastal Carolina. He was one of the few healthy players not to appear in the preseason opener.

“Unfortunately we had to let Jamie go and Jamie did a great job coming in here,” Fisher said. “He was caught between the two positions and we were really heavy at the tight end position. He understands and appreciated the opportunity. I told him he’s a better player now than he was when he got here.”

Gilbert, who is listed at 5’11, 167 pounds, played collegiately at Concordia-St. Paul, exhausting his eligibility in 2010. He spent some time with Jacksonville last season.

Harvey came into the league in 2010 and spent time on Atlanta’s practice squad as well as a short spell in Arizona. He brings more size to the position at 6’4, 205 pounds. He played at Villanova. 

DAVIS’ DEBUT: Rookie quarterback Austin Davis turned some heads with his performance in the preseason opener at Indianapolis as he stayed calm and completed 12 of his 18 passes for 84 yards.
“He was real active, has a good feel for what we’re doing,” Fisher said. “He extended some plays, which is good to see, with his legs. They brought some, at times, unique pressures and he had to flush and made some plays running around.”
Davis’ athletic ability was apparent on a handful of plays and he showed the ability to get out of trouble and take what was given to him.

For now, Davis is working exclusively with the third team but seems to have a firm grasp on that job and is getting better by the day. His mobility brings another quality Fisher likes in his backup signal callers.

“Yeah, he’s very active,” Fisher said. “He was very active in college. He just went out and just played and made plays. (He) enjoys playing the game.”

ON THE RUN: While Fisher was not pleased with his team’s pass blocking in the preseason opener, he did find some solace in the run blocking while noting that it could still improve as well.

The Rams tried multiple combinations along the offensive line and though Fisher singled out the first unit for its run blocking efforts, he said the group as a whole fared well.

“I thought it was pretty good for the first preseason game against the opponent that’s doing a lot of different things,” Fisher said. “I thought it was pretty good. The 1s did, I thought, especially did a good job sorting things out early and getting movement and creating lanes for ‘Jack’ (RB Steven Jackson). And then throughout the game, 2s did a pretty good job here and there, too. So, we’ll continue to work it. We’re getting better. That’s the most important thing is we’re seeing improvement.”

Fisher then went out of his way to make mention of the improvement he’s seen from guard Rokevious Watkins. Watkins has steadily climbed the depth chart since he was cleared from conditioning issues when he first arrived.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Watkins got his first look at left guard and even got some work with the first team offense. 

‘Rok,’ he’s really improved since he got out of the practice field a week ago,” Fisher said.