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Rams '87 : PREVIEW SECTION : 40 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE RAMS

September 11, 1987|GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI and CHRIS DUFRESNE | Times Staff Writers

1 The Ram advisory board includes the daughter of the President of the United States, Maureen Reagan; an evangelist and former member of the Fearsome Foursome, Rosey Grier; a lord, Lord David Westbury, and a major league baseball owner, Seattle's George L. Argyros.

2 Possible contributions from the advisory board:

Reagan--An 'in' at the White House.

Grier--Needlepoint lessons.

Westbury--Guided tours during the London exhibition trip.

Argyros--How not to run a franchise.

3 Most likely to hire a chauffeur: Dennis Harrah. The affable offensive guard has a knack for slight fender benders. After a recent photography session with a national sports magazine, Harrah shifted his vehicle into reverse . . . and smacked into the photographer's parked car. Said Harrah sheepishly: "I hope this story is worth it."

4 That the players' nickname for vice president-finance John Shaw, who deftly negotiates Ram contracts (often below market value), is "Squiggy."

5 In a striking departure from past media guide covers, the Rams decided to feature four feet and three knees on their 1987 issue. Bonus points to anyone who can correctly describe what the cover represents.

6 Pro Football Hall of Fame member Tom Fears, an end with the Rams from 1948-56, soon will receive his first pension check from the NFL. Fears, one of the many pre-1959 players who were once ineligible to earn an NFL pension, will get $540 each month for life.

7 The first eight Ram opponents this season combined for a 66-60-2 record in 1986. That's the bad news for Ram fans. The good news is this: Ram second-half opponents were 54-69-3 in 1986.

8 Five players with something to prove:

Dale Hatcher, punter--After a memorable rookie season, Hatcher's gross average plummeted from 43.2 yards a kick to 38.6 yards in 1986. On a team that prides itself on special-teams excellence, Hatcher's numbers were disappointing and unexpected. He also had six fewer kicks inside the 20 last season, despite 10 more attempts.

Jim Collins, linebacker--A pinched nerve in his left shoulder kept him out of the lineup the entire 1986 season. His return could help determine just how well the Ram defense functions.

Eric Dickerson--Though he has become one of the most prolific runners in NFL history, Dickerson remains (compared with other players in the league) a bargain. He knows it. The Rams know it. Now what? Dickerson has hinted that his performance may suffer if a substantial raise isn't soon included in his paycheck. The drama continues.

Mike Wilcher, linebacker--Wilcher went from 12 1/2 sacks in 1985 to 5 1/2 sacks last season. Now he finds Kevin Greene continuing a push for playing time. Time to produce or sit.

Ron Brown, wide receiver--Will this be the season Brown develops into a consistent, healthy receiver? And are four seasons too long to wait?

9 Annoying Ram game-day traditions:

--Owner Georgia Frontiere on the Ram sidelines. (Name another NFL owner who kisses players.)

--The usual assortment of brawls in the Anaheim Stadium section of your choice.

--Instant-replay attempts on the feeble, outdated Anaheim Stadium scoreboard. An Etch-A-Sketch provides better reproduction.

10 If we had to choose the next Ram offensive superstar: Tom Newberry, offensive guard.

11 If we had to choose the next Ram defensive superstar: Vince Newsome, strong safety.

12 Figure this one out: The Rams have retired only one uniform number: appropriately, No. 74, worn by defensive lineman Merlin Olsen. In supposed semi-retirement are No. 7 (Bob Waterfield), No. 40 (Elroy Hirsch) and No. 85 (Jack Youngblood). The Rams simply don't issue these numbers to new players. Enough is enough. Do it right--honor Waterfield, Hirsch and Youngblood with official jersey retirement parties.

13 The Rams gave up Kent Hill, William Fuller, two first-round draft choices and a fifth-round pick to the Houston Oilers for the rights to quarterback Jim Everett. Everett was worth it, say the Rams. As for Hill, he is expected to start at right guard for the Oilers. Fuller finds himself behind Ray Childress at left defensive end. But according to head coach Jerry Glanville, Fuller has been one of the most impressive linemen of the entire training camp. Houston used the Ram 1987 first-round pick on North Carolina State receiver Haywood Jeffires. Jeffires is listed behind 1,000-yard receivers Ernest Givens and Drew Hill. Jeffires will play often in the Oilers' four-receiver formation. Houston also has a first-round and fifth-round pick in 1988.

14 Quote to forget:

--"This guy's played in 30-below, on ice and in broomball shoes. If you ever got to Green Bay in December, he can play." Agent Gil Scott, who represented former Ram quarterback Dieter Brock. This was the same Brock who, when faced with 39-degree weather and 28-m.p.h. winds in the 1986 NFC championship game against the Chicago Bears, completed 10 of 31 passes for 66 yards and one interception. The Rams lost, 24-0.

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