Rams' Holt trying to put distractions aside for Bills matchup

ST. LOUIS -- With "madness" swirling at Rams Park, receiver Torry Holt is trying to put aside the turbulence after the team's 0-3 start.

Holt and other players were shocked this week when coach Scott Linehan benched quarterback Marc Bulger and made 38-year-old Trent Green the starter. In another move, Linehan cut veteran cornerback Fakir Brown.

Holt says his focus is on trying to beat undefeated Buffalo (3-0). The Rams host the Bills on Sunday. But he and teammates are still getting over Bulger's demotion.

"I was shocked, man, I was really shocked," Holt said. "I went up to Marc immediately and apologized to him as a receiver and for our receiver group and the offense for not making enough plays to give him an opportunity to stay on the football field with us."

Running back Steven Jackson declined to discuss the issue Friday. But on his local radio show Thursday night, Jackson said he didn't like the decision to bench Bulger, and said others in the locker room agreed with him.

Linehan said he will meet with Jackson to discuss those comments before Sunday's game.

"I haven't talked to him about it but I will," Linehan said. "No comment on it. Again, we're in this together and we're trying to find solutions to what has not been a good start to the season with our record. To sit here and not make some decisions, which are hard decisions for a head coach, I would not be doing my job. I will take, at some point soon, time (to) talk to Steven about it. I have no comment further."

Bulger has not spoken to reporters since the decision. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday that Bulger no longer wants to play for Linehan. The coach said he does not believe that is the case.

"He's never given me any indication. I know he's disappointed with my decision," Linehan said. "He's practiced well this week and worked hard."

Holt said he's relieved to have a game to play after a tumultuous week.

"It gives us a platform to escape all this madness," he said. "You can get away from everything that's going on and actually go out and play a game that we've always loved to play since we were youngsters."

For all the distractions, Linehan loosened up this week's practices. The amount of plays were cut in half, Holt said.

"Coach did a good job of lightening things up for us and keeping us fresh to allow us to go out on Sunday and play at a Max Q level for four quarters," Holt said.

Linehan said, "I think it's a very focused team going into this game, very determined, and maybe I'm crazy, but very confident."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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