Washington Redskins defensive tackle Cedric Killings shook his head as he walked off the practice field yesterday. "It's just one of those years," he said. "It really is."

Last Sunday, the same day defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin returned to action, the Redskins lost Joe Salave'a to a foot injury. Yesterday in practice, Killings strained his left groin and was listed as doubtful for tomorrow's game in St. Louis.

Salave'a also was listed as doubtful for the game against the Rams, and Coach Joe Gibbs has not appeared optimistic all week about his chances to play. Now it is unlikely that Killings, who made his first start of the season last week, will, either. The Redskins also used Killings on special teams.

The injury affects Killings's ability to push off and slide to the left or right.

"I'm just not able to do some of the lateral moves that I need to," Killings said. "We'll just have to see how it goes. It's a disappointment, especially with all the things that have gone on over here."

The Redskins' coaches were pleased with how Griffin practiced this week, even though he remained on the injury report, as probable.

"I'm a better coach when Griff is out there. There are so many things he does that you can't coach," Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. "It was funny to see some of the Chargers offensive linemen's eyes when he trotted out there the first time."

Meanwhile, Gibbs said it "didn't look good" for Ladell Betts, who has missed the last two games because of a strained knee. Wide receiver James Thrash is out for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury.

Fitzpatrick to Start

St. Louis interim head coach Joe Vitt named Ryan Fitzpatrick the starting quarterback for tomorrow's game.

Fitzpatrick had been expected to start after injuries to Marc Bulger and Jamie Martin, but the Rams did not make it official until last night.

"It's not really a surprise. I've been taking reps all week in practice, and the more reps I take, the more comfortable I'm starting to feel with the game plan and the offense," Fitzpatrick said. "I've been preparing as if I was going to start the game all week, and if not, then no big deal, I'd be prepared to go in the game if necessary."

Vitt said he is interested in how his rookie quarterback, whom Gibbs said had "the game of his life" last week against Houston, will handle the Redskins' defense.

"I think he gets better every day, he really does," Vitt said of Fitzpatrick. "He gets more comfortable. He's a special guy. We're going to see how he plays after a week's worth of preparation and somebody getting ready for him. The Redskins' defense has had a whole week to get ready for him now, what he can do, what he can't do. So, we'll see."