Veteran safety Chavous loses starting job

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ST. LOUIS -- Corey Chavous could have sulked after getting benched. Instead, the veteran St. Louis Rams safety made it easy on coach Jim Haslett when he delivered the news.

"We had a great discussion," Haslett said Wednesday. "Before I even got it out of my mouth, he told me what I was going to tell him."

Todd Johnson takes Chavous' job Sunday against the Seahawks, giving the secondary somewhat younger legs. He's been used mostly on special teams in two seasons with the Rams (2-11), getting his only other start last season when Chavous was sidelined by a pectoral injury.

The Rams made one other move in the secondary, placing cornerback Tye Hill on injured reserve. Hill, a first-round pick in 2006, has been unable to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after Week 4.

Haslett has been considering elevating Johnson, who made 10 starts for the Bears in 2004, for a few weeks. Respect for the 32-year-old Chavous, an 11-year veteran and Pro Bowler in 2003 voted a team captain by the players, made him hold off until now.

Haslett considers Chavous the leader of the secondary and credits him for the rise of free safety Oshiomoghe Atogwe, who has four interceptions, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

"He taught O.J. how to study, how to take notes, how to prepare to play," Haslett said. "He, I think, singlehandedly, is the reason why O.J. is ready to play games."

The benching conversation turned into a 45-minute discussion in which Chavous pledged to help on special teams and offered his thoughts on the Rams' offseason priorities.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: