Randy Moss is the most physically gifted, or at least he used to be before he went into his Derek Bell-like 'Operation Shutdown' in Oakland. Terrell Owens can be absolutely unstoppable when he's not too busy deep-sixing entire franchises. The consistency of Marvin Harrison, the big-play ability of Steve Smith, the explosiveness of Chad Johnson - those guys certainly make their case year in and year out.
Holt averages 5.6 receptions and 85.2 yards per game. But not this season, mind you. Those are the numbers over the course of his entire eight-year career. He has 689 catches since his rookie year in 1999, the same exact number as Bears veteran Muhsin Muhammad. However, it took Muhammad three more seasons and 30 more games to reach that total.
This season, despite an offensive line that can't keep quarterback Marc Bulger upright, Holt is once again piling up the numbers. He's caught 70 passes for 910 yards and eight touchdowns so far. All three of those totals are good for at least sixth-best in the NFC.
Holt is frustrated with a Rams offense that shows flashes of brilliance but has not been able to put it all together week in and week out.
"It's been good and it's been bad," Holt said on Thursday via conference call at Halas Hall. "And then at times it's been terrible. It's been up and down for us. We hadn't really, really established a consistent rhythm all year, and obviously you can tell by our schedule and also some of our series as an offense. So it's been up and down."
The biggest story that came out of St. Louis after last week's head-scratching home loss to Arizona was Bulger calling out his own teammates. After the game, he started pointing fingers and, although he didn't mention any names, questioned the desire of some players in his own locker room. Certain members of Bulger's offensive line seem to be the target of this criticism.
Bulger has come under a lot of heat for airing his dirty laundry to the media instead of behind closed doors, but Holt seemed refreshed by his QB's honesty.
"I just think it was really good to see Marc step up that way and express how he was feeling," he said. "And I think we as a football team need to take heed of that and go out and play accordingly. If we don't want those type of comments to be said by anybody – player, coach, or management - then we need to go out and play the way we know how we can play, and those comments won't come about. I think everybody has recognized it and understands it, and we're going to go out and try to do something about it."
The Rams won the Super Bowl in Holt's rookie year and were NFC Champions two years later. Grocery-store-clerk-turned-MVP-quarterback Kurt Warner came out of nowhere to lead a St. Louis offense that was among the most explosive in NFL history. Holt - along with tailback Marshall Faulk and fellow receivers Isaac Bruce and Az-Zahir Hakim - may forever be remembered for being an integral part of what was dubbed 'The Greatest Show on Turf'.
Warner is now riding the pine in Arizona, and both Faulk and Hakim are out of football. Nevertheless, the Rams have had a hard time divorcing themselves from the memory of those high-flying teams of a few years back. Bulger is a good quarterback and tailback Steven Jackson can do it all, but the Super Bowl circus left town a long time ago.
As fun as those teams were to watch with Warner flinging the ball all over creation, Holt feels it's time for the organization to form a new identity.
"I think it's ran its course," he admitted. "We no longer have all ‘The Greatest Show on Turf' players on our football team, so I think that's ran its course. We have a whole new group of players, a whole new coaching staff, a whole new philosophy, so we're trying to embrace and adjust to the coaching style and philosophy that we have here and moving on to a new era of Rams football."
The Rams are still in the NFC playoff picture despite their 5-7 record, so an upset victory over the Bears on Monday night could go a long way toward establishing that new identity.
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