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Once Again, The Race Is On for Rams' Quarterback Spot

April 23, 1986|RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writer

One day after the Boston Marathon, the Rams revived their own long-running tradition Tuesday: the competition to determine who would start at quarterback next season.

"I suppose it started today," Coach John Robinson said when the four quarterbacks on the roster started supervised workouts at Rams Park. "I'm not going to fire a gun, but there are four guys out there, and a couple of them are pretty nervous."

The four are last year's starter, Dieter Brock; the recently signed Steve Bartkowski; and returning reserves Jeff Kemp, who is an unsigned free agent, and Steve Dils. They may be joined by a fifth on draft day next Tuesday.

In that event, Robinson said, "One quarterback would have to go before (training) camp. I could see going (to camp) with four, but not with five."

Robinson would like to acquire a young quarterback he can develop to play at least two full seasons in a row--something the Rams haven't had since Roman Gabriel in 1971.

But the Rams are selecting 23rd in the first round and don't expect to have a shot at Iowa's Chuck Long or Purdue's Jim Everett, the top-rated quarterbacks in the draft. Their only chance would be to trade up to a better position, but Robinson approaches that possibility cautiously.

"If we are able to move up, it would probably be Tuesday morning," he said. "If the guy we want is there, we would try. There's no reason to do it earlier."

Some draft experts believe the Indianapolis Colts made a serious error in swapping first-round choices with the New Orleans Saints (sixth for fourth) last week so they could pick Everett, without first being assured that the Houston Oilers wouldn't grab Everett in the third

Ram Notes

Wide receiver Ron Brown is seeded second behind the Bears' Willie Gault in the Sprint/NFL's Fastest Man contest at Palm Desert Saturday. The winner will get $20,000, the runner-up $15,000. Others in the field are Denver's Vance Johnson, Cincinnati's Eddie Brown, Washington's Darrell Green, Green Bay's Phil Epps, the Raiders' Dokie Williams and Minnesota's Anthony . . . The Rams' defensive players held their mini-camp last week. The offense is scheduled May 7-9. Most of the time will be spent developing a shotgun offense and expanding a two-back offense, with Eric Dickerson and Barry Redden together.

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