Rams receivers know Torry Holt’s resume.
Holt performed at a high level for a long time — he was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times during his 11-year NFL career — and enjoys a captive audience when imparting knowledge.
“Whatever he talks about,” receiver Brandin Cooks said Monday, “I’m just soaking it in and being a sponge and trying to add it to my game.”
Holt, 41, is with the Rams for the final week of organized team activity workouts as part of the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Fellowship, a program that exposes minority coaches to team operations.
He is eager to pass on knowledge gained from catching 920 passes, 85 for touchdowns, during 10 seasons with the St. Louis Rams and one with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Just trying to get a feel for coaching, and if this is something that I want to pursue maybe going forward,” said Holt, who retired after the 2009 season.
Holt won a Super Bowl with the Rams as a rookie in the 1999 season, and he was part of record-setting “Greatest Show on Turf” offenses that featured Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, Hall of Fame lineman Orlando Pace and receivers Isaac Bruce and Az-Zahir Hakim among others.
“He brings a unique perspective from a player that’s had as much success as anybody, understanding the nuances of the receiver position, how to separate,” coach Sean McVay said. “You talk about a guy that had ownership and a mastery of the system that he was playing in, that they had so much success in, for so many years.”
Holt has been fully engaged with players and coaches in the receivers’ and offense’s meeting rooms and also on the field.
Along with receivers coach Eric Yarber and assistant receivers coach Liam Coen, he is tutoring a position group that helped the Rams lead the NFL in scoring in 2017.
Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are returning starters. Cooks, acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots, replaced Sammy Watkins, who signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Third-year pros Pharoh Cooper and Mike Thomas and second-year pro Josh Reynolds will also compete for playing time.
“There’s a level of respect there,” Holt said. “They want to figure out how they can improve their position, their craft and that’s what I talk to them about — details, improving, asking questions, being a student of the game.”
Holt said he compiled a notebook of information about Rams receivers, noting their strengths and how they can improve and fit into the scheme.
On Monday, he observed drills and helped instruct individuals and small groups.
“You’re just taking every chance you can to just kind of hear what he’s saying, even if he’s not coaching you up specifically,” Kupp said.
With third-year quarterback Jared Goff commanding the offense, a veteran line clearing the way for running back Todd Gurley and a developing tight end corps, Rams receivers are positioned to build on last season’s success.
The Rams were 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2004, when Holt caught 94 passes, 10 for touchdowns.
“They were awesome last year,” Holt said. “I’m looking forward to them … being better with the details and going another step further.
“That’s what it’s all about.
McVay said he did not know if defensive tackle Aaron Donald would attend next week’s mandatory minicamp. Donald has not participated in voluntary offseason workouts and OTAs because of a contract dispute that dates to last year. In 2017, Donald attended but did not participate in the mandatory minicamp. “Haven’t had a chance to talk with him yet about whether he anticipates coming or not,” McVay said. “I know we’ll have an idea based on whether it’s, ‘OK, I’m not going to come until there’s a resolution,’ or, ‘I will be there.’”… Kicker Greg Zuerlein, who had season-ending back surgery in December, is kicking but not participating in full-team drills. Sam Ficken has been handling field-goal attempts…. Rookie Justin Lawler, a seventh-round draft pick from Southern Methodist, has been taking first-team reps at outside linebacker.
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