Dear Gaston Green:
This is your week. Honest. The wait is over. Forget about what the coach said about last week being your week. Keep your chin strap buckled for the Raiders. It's going to happen, unless of course the game gets going and things get exciting and somehow they don't see you standing there--again.
"I expect him to carry it 15 times this week," Ram Coach John Robinson said. "I wanted Gaston in that (Detroit) game. I think he's really ready to play. He is more and more every week."
Forgive Green if he has heard this before. Robinson all but promised Green, a first-round choice, that he would get all the contact he could stand against the Lions.
Green carried once for three yards.
Robinson said he just forgot all about the time and got carried away with starter Greg Bell, who finished with 139 yards.
And taking Bell out to get Green in would be like, well, like . . .
"It's like taking out a pitcher who's strong in the seventh inning," Robinson said. "He's strong and getting stronger. Runners get stronger. They don't get tired. Runners get stronger as the game goes on. It's always true. It's fact."
On the sideline, Green was plenty strong. But he's not complaining. In fact, he may be the most understanding, non-playing first-round pick to come out in years.
"I thought I was going to get a chance to play," Green said Monday. "But the way Bell was playing, there was no need to take him out. At the end of the game, (Robinson) said he just couldn't take Greg out. I understood."
For now, Green is content being the world's richest kick returner.
"Of course I want to play," he said. "But I can wait. I can be patient."
But of course, the wait is over. Bet on it.
Heads up on the sideline department: Last week, Robinson joked that his team might be better off just kicking the ball out of bounds on kickoffs, which automatically gives opponents the ball on the 35-yard line.
What joke? If you throw out Norman Jefferson's fumble inside the 10 last week at Green Bay, Ram opponents are starting drives, on average, at their 36.
Robinson has come up with Plan II.
"We're going to try to put guys that are going to get knocked down flat on their backs over on one side and all the other guys over on the other side and kick it over there," Robinson said. "Just kidding. We're concerned about it. It's a very exciting play."
In the meantime, special teams coach Artie Gigantino reaches for another antacid.
And Sunday, it's Tim Brown of the Raiders.
"It doesn't matter who it is," Robinson said. "We're going to make league leaders out of everybody."
Eric Dickerson says there's no way that Charles White will beat him out for the rushing title this season. That seems a cinch, with White suspended for four games for substance abuse.
But what about Greg Bell, supposedly pocket change in the Dickerson trade last season? Is this really the guy Robinson called "an enigma" in training camp?
Let's look at the numbers through two games.
Dickerson has carried 48 times for 204 yards, a 4.25-yard average. Bell has carried 36 times for 164 yards, a 4.6 average. Dickerson leads in receiving yards, 98 to 12.
Speaking of Bell, what happens if he's leading the league in rushing when White returns from his suspension?
"Would we trade him to Indianapolis?" Robinson said of Bell, heading off the question with a one-liner. "No."
Back to the question. "That's a little bit down the line," Robinson said.
What rivalry? Robinson said he could get a lot more excited about this week's game against the Raiders if the teams played each other more than three times a decade.
"Our guys can't even remember the last time," Robinson said.
Nor would they care to. The teams last met in 1985. The Raiders won, 16-6.
"I really wish we were in the same division and played each other twice a year," he said. "That would be the best of all worlds. It's not really a rivalry when you play once every four years. . . . No one's consulting me, but I'd have a division of San Diego, the Rams, Raiders, 49ers, Seattle. That would be a good division."
The Rams are serious about their three-man rotation system at outside linebacker. Sunday, Kevin Greene and Mike Wilcher started ahead of Mel Owens, snapping Owens' string of 30 consecutive starts. . . . Gaston Green is averaging 21.6 yards a carry--on kickoff returns. . . . The team leads the NFC in take-aways with seven.
Jim Everett dropped from first to fourth in NFC passing this week. . . . The Rams and San Francisco 49ers are 2-0 after two weeks. So what's the difference? The 49ers have beaten New Orleans and the New York Giants. . . . In defense of the Eagle: The Rams have twice as many sacks (12) as they did after two games last season. Greene leads with three, and Wilcher and Owens have two each. At this pace, the Rams will finish the season with 96 sacks, 58 more than they had last season.
The Rams released rookie tailback Keith Jones on Sunday but may re-sign him this week if he clears waivers. The team still needs to fill the spot vacated by Charles White. . . . John Robinson hasn't coached in the Coliseum since 1982, when he was still at USC. "When it's full, I like the place," he said Monday. "I don't like it when there's 45,000 people in it."