ST. LOUIS -- Receiver Torry Holt, his production down from years past, said Friday he feels "at times" like he is being phased out from the St. Louis offense.
No. 2 draft pick Donnie Avery has come on strong since Jim Haslett replaced Scott Linehan as coach during the bye after an 0-4 start. Avery has 20 catches, with 15 in the last three weeks, for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, Avery caught a 69-yard touchdown pass, the longest by the Rams since Holt had an 85-yard reception in 2000.
So, does Holt think he's slowly being phased out?
"I don't know; at times I do," said Holt, who is in his 10th season with the Rams. "At times, I feel like there's a situation where I'm getting phased. But who knows? We'll see how it goes."
Holt, 32, has an impressive resume. He has been the NFL leader in yards receiving and receptions since 2000.
So he acknowledged he was "surprised" by his workload reduction this season.
"Absolutely surprised, but you know, I guess they feel that Donnie obviously has been stepping up and making some huge plays and they want to continue to give him the football," Holt said. "I try to keep some balance and play and do what I can do to help our football team win."
He was hampered all last season by a balky right knee, but still led the team with 93 receptions for 1,189 yards and seven touchdowns. Holt has nine consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, second only to Jerry Rice.
"I feel good," Holt said. "There's some soreness and tightness at times. I haven't been getting as much work during games, so I'm not tremendously sore on Mondays. It's not like I'm in the training room every day getting treatment. I haven't missed a practice. I get myself ready to help our team win on Sunday."
Still, Holt said he is frustrated.
"When you go from getting as many opportunities and touches as I've had in the past to not nearly as many, it's definitely a sense of frustration."
However, Holt said he has not gone to any coaches to complain.
"I don't feel like I need to speak to anybody about that," Holt said. "My body of work speaks for itself. I'm not going to make a stink about it or a fuss about it. I'll just go with the flow."
Haslett said opposing defenses have something to do with Holt not getting the ball more.
"Just because of the coverages more than anything," Haslett said. "But his numbers will come up; they'll jump up. We're doing some different things with him, trying to get the young guys on the field, but his numbers will come up."
"I guess it's all based on the coverage and what they're trying to do, to be honest with you," Haslett said. "Torry got a lot of two-mans last week. When you have two guys running with you, it's hard to get open."
When Haslett took over, he proclaimed he wanted the ball in the hands of the Rams' playmakers. He specifically mentioned Holt along with some others.
Holt remembered that.
"I'm here every day, working and getting myself prepared," Holt said. "I was told the same thing. I'll stay patient and see how things develop."
"We have to get him the ball. I know he's the leading receiver. With Donnie emerging, I think that will open it up a little more. Torry, he's not worried about it. His numbers will come."
"We need to get him the ball," Hall said.
Regardless, Holt said he will keep working.
"I'll continue doing my part," Holt said. "I'll continue to be a team guy like I've always been."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press